BLACKCAPS captain Stephen Fleming felt his 100th Test match, played out at the fittingly-named Centurion venue, was a ‘great’ contest, despite the victory for hosts South Africa.
Fleming and the Proteas’ all-round duo Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock all reached the milestone as the home nation brought up a century of victories in the five-day game.
The visiting captain was magnanimous after a 128-run defeat inspired by a bowler-friendly track, exploited ruthlessly by the in-form Makhaya Ntini and impressive newcomer Dale Steyn.
Fleming said: “It was a great Test match. It ebbed and flowed, and it’s been probably traditional for New Zealand South Africa Tests over the last wee while.
“It was a tough wicket to play on. South Africa grabbed the 50-50 situations and they just showed they were little bit more hardened than us in the situation.”
The highlight for the BLACKACPS was Jacob Oram’s solid return to Test cricket, with the all-rounder scoring a Test best 133 and two wickets.
Fleming said: “It was a nice way to get back into the Test scene. I guess he was pretty nervous going into this test. But he played with a lot of composure which is what was needed on that pitch
“There were three of four guys on both sides who showed the composure needed. But all in all it was a tough match for the batsmen and the bowlers dominated, as they should.
’I was a little disappointed (with the pitch) but it gave opportunities. I think from a batsman’s point of view it was unnerving, but you’ve got to get the runs on the board and South Africa did that and placed us under pressure going into the last day.”
Pace bowler Michael Mason will join the squad in Cape Town, ahead of the second Test, which begins at Newlands on April 27.
for a list of all Stephen Fleming’s Test matches.
Live scoring and reports on the BLACKCAPS' Test matches in South Africa will be available on .