Fleming boost for BLACKCAPS

BLACKCAPS skipper Stephen Fleming made a welcome return to competitive cricket with a knock of 62 for State Wellington Firebirds on the opening day of the State Championship.

Fleming missed the opening game of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series in Auckland after surgery to remove a benign tumour from his jaw-line.

But he has recuperated enough to begin the domestic season with the Firebirds at Christchurch’s QEII Park as Wellington amassed a hefty 415 for five against State Canterbury Wizards.

Fleming recorded a partnership of 120 with centurion Michael Parlane, who went to score that amount before falling to New Zealand Academy graduate Todd Astle.

But Wellington’s top-scorer was New Zealand A tourist Jesse Ryder, who collated an innings of 133 not out, including 18 fours and two sixes.

Veteran Canterbury and BLACKCAPS bowler Chris Harris did not take any wickets but bowled economically, costing only 29 runs from his 21 overs.

Former West Indies paceman Nixon McLean took two wickets on his Wizards debut.

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