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Fleming hails Kiwis after drawn Test

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said the fighting draw in the first Test against India on Sunday was a moral victory for his side.

india Updated: Oct 13, 2003 10:38 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said the fighting draw in the first Test against India on Sunday was a moral victory for his side.

"Just to get through was a win for us in the end," Fleming said after the match, which at one stage seemed headed India's way, eventually petered out into a tame draw on the final day.

New Zealand were in trouble chasing a tough fourth innings target of 370, but Craig McMillan and Nathan Astle saw off the Indian bowlers on a flat pitch.

McMillan top-scored with 83 not out and Astle, who hit 103 in the first innings, remained unbeaten on 51.

Fleming said winning on slow Indian pitches was not easy and said any victory hopes were given up after three quick wickets fell in the morning.

The left-hander, whose career-best 274 not out was instrumental in New Zealand drawing a two-test series in Sri Lanka in April, managed to score just one and eight.

But the result boosted the tourists, who beat India 2-0 at home late last year, in the two-test series.

A disappointed India captain Saurav Ganguly refused to blame his bowlers, who failed to achieve victory despite his second innings declaration on the fourth day.

"The bowlers bowled their hearts out but it was a flat wicket," he said. "The pitch got slower and slower and there was not much help for any of them though they tried very hard."

Ganguly criticised the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials involved in preparing the pitch in Ahmedabad, where the last two tests have also ended in dull draws.

"The BCCI have their own responsibility to see how wickets are prepared but they haven't done so," he said. "I don't know what to say."

He said India were now toying with the idea of including a fifth specialist bowler for the second test starting in Mohali on Thursday.

"It is not a disappointing start, but the bottom line is we will have to win it in Mohali to win the series."

First Published: Oct 12, 2003 23:26 IST