Fleming acclaims BLACKCAPS

Stephen Fleming praised the BLACKCAPS for an improve performance after clinching a draw in the second Test against South Africa at Newlands.

Fleming scored a ground-record 262 in the tourists’ first innings before declaring with his side at 593 for eight.

James Franklin contributed his maiden Test century, and there was a half-century in each innings by Nathan Astle and Scott Styris.

The knock earned Fleming the man-of-the-match award, but the captain focused on his team’s effort at the prizegiving.

Fleming said: "It was a better performance, we put South Africa under some pressure and made them have to bat well, which they did.

"A couple of their guys batted really well. Amla in particular played well for his first Test century.

"We put them under pressure but they responded, so we go to Wanderers now looking to draw the series and turn in another better performance than the defeat in the first Test."

Fleming backed counterpart Graeme Smith’s decision to field first on the batter-friendly Cape Town pitch.

"The pitch played pretty well. It took some turn at certain stages, in particular the latter stages, but it was a good Test match,” he added. “You've got to go on your gut, and that can be right and it can be wrong."

"We were listening with interest before the Test to any advice we could get about the pitch."

Smith, the first captain since the 1920s to put the opposition in at Newlands in a Test, commented: "I think it was the right decision to put them in. The pitch did most on day one.

"We needed to take advantage up front but unfortunately for us Stephen and the rest batted really well."

Smith paid tribute to his own batsmen, including maiden Test centurion Hashim Amla, who made 149, and Ashwell Prince, who scored his second hundred of the summer.

"A lot of the batsmen have been looking forward to batting on a decent pitch because we've played on a few that have gone around this year," Smith said.

"It was great to see Hash in particular come back after 15 months out of the side and do so well, and Ashwell Prince has grafted hard for us all year so it was great to see him get a hundred as well."

The Proteas lead the series 1-0 going into the third and final Test, at the Wanderers starting Friday 7.30pm NZT (9.30 local time).

BLACKCAPS in South Africa: :.

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