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Fleming left frustrated

Bell hoping battling innings will have impressed Kiwi selectors

Fleming: Leaving the field after being dismissed for 66

Stephen Fleming admitted making a half-century was probably a fitting finale to his Test career with New Zealand.

The left-hander scored 66 on day four of the deciding Test against England in Napier before being dismissed by spinner Monty Panesar.

It was the 46th time that the 34-year-old, who was given a guard of honour by the tourists when he came out to bat, had managed to get to 50 but then fail to go on and reach three figures.

He could at least console himself with the fact that his efforts in the series decider had boosted his final average up to 40.07 in 111 appearances.


"I walked off frustrated which has happened 50 or 60 times in my career and I did have a wry smile to myself that it was probably a fitting way to go," he said.

"If I'd have made a hundred it would have been an anomaly.

"I'm disappointed but when I take time to reflect I guess I'm satisfied to have a four in front of my average, but it would have been nice to chalk up 10 hundreds and be having a crack tomorrow to save the game."

Fleming's wicket was one of four to go down in the final session as England closed in on a victory at McLean Park that would also clinch the series.

The former Black Caps skipper knows that his side face a massive challenge on the final day to try and save the game with only five wickets in hand.

He added: "Losing four wickets in a session has set us back. If it was one or two you'd say it would be a pretty tight day going into tomorrow.

"But as it is it's going to take pretty strong resistance in the morning and we'll see how we go in the afternoon - we still have some batting to come, but our backs are against the wall."

Battling Bell

Matthew Bell shared a 99-run stand with Fleming during the afternoon to give the Black Caps hope of batting out for a draw.

The opener was under pressure to perform after struggling throughout the series, though he will now have to wait and see if his innings of 69 was enough to clinch him a place in the squad to tour England next month.

"If you don't play well then you're probably going to be dropped," he told Sky Sports.

"Obviously i've been struggling in this series so it was nice to get out there and spend some time in the middle and feel comfortable there for once.

"I'm just really disappointed about starting a really good partnership with Stephen and then blowing it away straight after tea."

On the chances of being picked to play in England, Bell added: "That's up to them (the selectors). I was there in 1999 and we were pretty successful then.

"I've had a look at the English bowlers and they've had a look at me, so we know what is going on for the next series."