Cricket / First Test: Fleming stands up to test

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The Independent Online
IT WAS never going to be an easy day for New Zealand, and their confidence, which was not high at the start of this Test, will now be somewhere around their ankles. For all that, there was a most encouraging innings from the young left-hander, Stephen Fleming.

He is only 21 and came into this game, only his second Test match, to replace the once formidable left-hander, Mark Greatbatch, whose game at the moment is in tatters, and made a delightful 54.

He still has much to learn, especially about the virtue of playing straight, but whenever he stood up to drive the ball there was a real touch of class about the way he fashioned the stroke and timed the ball.

He will find batting hard work when those around him get themselves out cheaply to poor strokes as they did now. It would be lovely if in the second innings at Trent Bridge, or later in the month at Lord's with the sun on their backs, he and Martin Crowe could build a long partnership.

Fleming would learn so much from batting with Crowe and this is not the least of the reasons why it is so important for the New Zealanders that their leading batsman should find his feet.

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