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April 8, 2005
Stephen Fleming has requested that the umpires standing in the second Test against Sri Lanka, in Wellington, (starting Monday) remove their black trousers because the New Zealand batsmen were finding it almost impossible to pick up the ball from Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan swing bowler, who delivers the ball from in front of the umpire.
Malinga, 21, was the most impressive Sri Lankan bowler in the drawn first Test at Napier, taking a career-best 5 for 80 in the second innings, and match figures of 9 for 210. Seven of his wickets were either bowled or lbw, as the Kiwi's continually struggled to pick up his deliveries.
Fleming told the AFP news agency: ""We can't see him. When it's a bit overcast and late in the evening, you saw last night when Hamish (Marshall) who's in great form, just couldn't see the ball. We asked the umpires to change the colour of their trousers, there's a period there when he's delivering when it gets lost in the trousers."
One the first day in Napier Steve Bucknor and Darrell Hair were asked to remove their dark ties and on the last day Fleming asked Bucknor to put a white jumper around his waist to act as mini sightscreen. Fleming said: "I'm not sure if the rules are but we've asked if they can change (to light coloured trousers). It's a factor, hence putting the sweater in front of the trousers."
But John Dyson, the Sri Lanka coach, hopes that Malinga continues to cause problems. "He was chosen because he does bowl quickly, he's a little bit unorthodox and guys have trouble picking him up. We've seen it in the middle with Australia, South Africa and now New Zealand, he is very difficult to pick up, hopefully more difficult in Wellington."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.