Fleming shares the praise

Stephen Fleming was full of praise for his BLACKCAPS team after their series-clinching victory over the West Indies- but refused to be satisfied by his own performance.

The skipper produced a man-of-the-match display as his team claimed a record fifth successive Test win with the 10-wicket victory in Wellington to take an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

However, despite a crucial knock of 97 and six catches in the match, the captain felt the praise must rest elsewhere.

Fleming saw his team overcome the late loss of Shane Bond with strong performances from his attack, offering plaudits to his bowlers and top-order batting partner Peter Fulton.

He told BLACKCAPS.co.nz columnist Gavin Larsen on Sky Sports: “We were pretty happy with the way that turned out. James Franklin on home soil led the way.

“Kyle Mills stepped up with six wickets in the match and we were well led by Chris (Martin and James up the top.

“They did a great job, with Dan (Vettori) toiling away later on, so it worked out pretty well for us.”

Fleming’s 165-run partnership with Peter Fulton was highly important. Of the Test rookie, Fleming said: “It was good to put a partnership together, bat some time with Peter.

“I’ve watched him quite a bit and (I wanted) to spend some time with him in the middle, get a better understanding of how the guy works. He’s pretty calculated, pretty calm and he bats accordingly.”

His first-innings knock of 97 was a near miss on his first Test century at the Basin Reserve, and he admitted he was unhappy with the way the knock ended.

“I probably wanted it top go over the top and I was looking for the quick way. but it caught the bottom of the bat so I knew I was in a bit of trouble. From a team sense it was a reckless out, John (Bracewell) pointed that out after 24 hours, when I calmed down.

“I’ve let the situation dictate recently and I wanted to dictate the situation. I was able then to play some shots. (Ian) Bradshaw in particular has bowled well to me and I just wanted to put some scoreboard pressure on him.”

He was also modest about his impressive haul of catches, which saw him make further progress as one of the game’s most prolific slip fielders.

“I think the most disappointing aspect for me as captain was dropping a catch. For the batter to carry on getting runs is the worst feeling in the world, so we try and pride ourselves on getting everything. I guess at first slip in our conditions you’re going to get a lot.”

However his eye was already on the next game, at Napier, starting on March 25, as BLACKCAPS look to complete a clean sweep.

“Another Test win would be great. We’re delighted with this to win 2-0 the series, but each Test has its own identity and to win another Test is very appealing to finish the summer well.

“We’re pretty focused on that we’ll enjoy this one. The last couple of games have been pretty hard so from our point of view, we’re delighted.”

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