December 22, 2002

Sideways movement taking batsmen out of the game - Fleming

Winning captain Stephen Fleming attacked the pitch quality that allows bowlers to dominate Test matches to the extent that occurred in the National Bank Series with India today which ended with a 2-0 margin to New Zealand.

The home team held on to win by four wickets in Hamilton on a pitch that took until the fourth day of the scheduled five to reach anything like Test standard.

It had been caused by the weather, he acknowledged that point, and said New Zealand were close to getting the formula right, but in the meantime it was frustrating for a variety of reasons.

"I guess we're caught in the middle where the groundsmen are preparing bouncy wickets which is great, and I've been an advocate for that for a long time, unfortunately we are having to put up with the sideways movement as well because of the weather these guys are getting to prepare wickets," he said.

Fleming said he wanted his bowlers to work hard for wickets, and if there was bounce in pitches there would be reward for good bowling, but the pronounced seam movement was a bugbear.

It meant that New Zealand would not see the scores in excess of 400 that were so common in other countries.

"Good true wickets with bounce do provide entertainment, I'll 100% guarantee that," he said.

Fleming said the message for the batsmen going out to attempt to secure the win today was defence and looking out for the opportunity to score.

"We believed we were the better side in these conditions," Fleming said.

Man of the match Daryl Tuffey said he felt he bowled best in the second innings of the game, he had to work harder and wasn't as fresh.

"The partnership between [Sachin] Tendulkar and [Rahul] Dravid was the key one for us to break and once we got Tendulkar out, they let us right off again and a procession of wickets fell again and it really got us back in the match. They could easily have taken it away from us," he said.

The performance in the Test series, in which he took 13 wickets at 8.69 had been a stepping stone for him getting back into the side for the National Bank One-Day International Series starting in Auckland on Boxing Day.