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The Christchurch Press Rain ruins Black Caps' revival
Geoff Longley in Wellington - 25 March 1999

A transformation of Jekyll and Hyde proportions by the Black Cap cricketers counted for nothing in their rain abandoned day-night one-day match against South Africa at McLean Park.

It was hard to believe in the play possible - basically just the New Zealand innings - that the Black Caps could muster a challenging 257 for eight from 48 overs yesterday after their lame efforts in the one-sided three test series.

With South Africa just 10 without loss after 1.3 overs when the misty rain came it left the match as a no result as a minimum of 25 overs must be received by both sides. The game will be replayed in full today as a day game to enable the players to get to Auckland for the fifth BNZ match tomorrow.

New Zealand openers Matthew Horne and Nathan Astle cast aside a tentative start, just nine runs in the first five overs, to launch into new-ball bowlers Shaun Pollock and Steve Elworthy, who had been instrumental in their third test demise at Wellington.

The following five overs realised 46 runs and New Zealand rocketed to 80 without loss after 14 overs, the end of the fielding restrictions, on the back of some sizzling stroke-play by the pair. This was not the uncertain Astle of the Basin Reserve, but the confident one-day player reasserting himself, slamming six fours in his 48-ball innings of 38.

When both fell within two runs of each other it could have sent the Black Caps into a slump, but Stephen Fleming and Roger Twose maintained the momentum. Fleming showed little of the rustiness from being away from the game at top level for more than two months, while Twose was another to discard his test blues and play an innings of controlled aggression.

But the biggest revelation of all was wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Parore, who struggled through the test series, but decided to cast caution aside, playing some thumping blows in his run-a-ball innings of 44, studded with seven fours.

South Africa had some unlucky moments, including several confident leg before wicket shouts. One was of its own doing when wicketkeeper Mark Boucher failed to appeal for a catch behind off Larsen after an apparent edge. It would have given Boucher a world record-equalling five dismissals for a wicketkeeper, to be shared along with 16 others.

Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming's injured groin muscle needed treatment after his first innings back following surgery 10 weeks ago.

Fleming's groin had to be iced by physiotherapist Mark Harrison after the Blackcaps skipper felt ``achy and tired'' in making an encouraging 21 in 37 minutes and from 28 balls. The biggest test will be how he recovers today.

Source: The Christchurch Press
Editorial comments can be sent to The Christchurch Press at press@press.co.nz