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Fleming leads Kiwis to easy win

By Ted Corbett

BRISTOL, JULY 5. New Zealand beat England by four wickets in their Natwest Series game here on Sunday. Chasing the host's 237, the Kiwis, thanks to skipper Stephen Fleming's 99, won with more than two overs to spare.

Stephen Fleming and Nathan Astle provided the solid base with an opening stand of 122 in 27 overs in which Astle played the prominent part as he has threatened to throughout this tour. Fleming continued where he left off in Cardiff; calm, assured and with the authority that ought to belong to a captain of his experience.

Astle's neat stroke play sometimes erupts into violence and he might have been caught and bowled by Harmison two balls before Harmison produced what the old guys would have called a "snorter" that whipped though his guard at 92 miles an hour.

Once the evening sunshine returned, New Zealand stumbled to victory even though three men were out for five runs. Fleming was caught for 99 but Hamish Marshall, run out as Fleming rushed headlong for his hundredth run, looked more like an international batsman than ever.

No-one will need telling that Fleming won the toss and put England in. The modern one-day captain who says "I'll have a bat" would be wheeled away to an asylum. Odd, is it not, that this is the ground where W.G. Grace gained the tactical knowledge that led him to say: "If you win the toss, always think about putting the opposition in, but always bat." How the old game changes.

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