The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fleming aims at a 100-plus lead

Wellington: New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said his side would be looking forward to take at least a 100-run lead over the visitors to force a result in home side’s favour.

The home team dismissed the Indians for a paltry 161 on the first day at the Basin Reserve Thursday.

“We would look to take as much lead as possible. A hundred would be good. After you get a side out for 161, the game advances and if we can manage a lead, there is a chance of a result,” Fleming said.

He was happy with his team’s performance but said it still cost them 15-20 runs in the field because of the catches they let go behind the stumps.

“I was disappointed with our catching behind the stumps in which we pride ourselves.

“It didn’t cost us much, we probably lost 20 runs, but there was a danger of rescue operation and we can’t let that happen against a quality batting line-up.

“We would have liked the total to be a little less but our batsmen would do the work tomorrow,” the captain added.

He was satisfied with the way the wicket behaved on the opening day and confessed he had asked for seaming wickets for the series.

“It moved around and had good bounce and pace. We are happy with it. We asked for seaming wickets with good pace, which is the way I love cricket going in New Zealand.”

He, however, had a word of praise for Rahul Dravid, saying that the Indian batsman showed his class on a difficult pitch.

“We made early inroads but Dravid, class player that he is, played very well and stopped us from the phenomenon of 100-run score we were looking to restrict the Indians.”

Underlining that the Indian vice-captain’s knock taught everyone how to bat on the pitch, Fleming said they would be looking to play positively to put pressure on the bowlers.

“We learnt a lesson from Dravid. Perhaps if we are a little positive, we can put the pressure back on the Indian bowlers. That’s a risk but if we can do that, it might give us momentum.”

Meanwhile, debutant New Zealand medium- pacer Jacob Oram, who had the prized scalp of Sachin Tendulkar as his first Test victim, said he had backed himself to do well in favourable conditions with his style of bowling.

“I knew if I could bowl tight in right areas and ask questions, I would be successful,” said Oram who finished with figures of two for 31.

Oram said Tendulkar was leaving quite a few of his deliveries but he knew sooner or later the batsman would have a go at him.

“He was leaving it often but it wasn’t because I was bowling wide. With the ball nipping in, I knew he can’t leave for ever.”

Oram said he appealed instinctively when Sachin kicked at an incoming delivery and couldn’t tell if the ball was lifting and leaving the stumps.

“I had turned around appealing and I didn’t watch the replay,” said Oram.

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