WC 2003 - Fleming admits wrong pitch assessment proved dear

Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Bloemfontein: New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming on Monday said New Zealand's decision to field first in its World Cup Pool B encounter was a mistake and cost the Kiwis the match."The wicket was likely to slow down towards the end of the match and the toss was crucial," Jayasuriya said after his side scored a 47-run victory against New Zealand.Sri Lanka piled up 272 runs for seven wickets and then bowled out New Zealand for 225 to win its opening rubber.Fleming admitted he had made a mistake. "It was slower than we expected which surprised me. We lost our way at the start of the innings."Jayasuriya, who hit a splendid 120 and had a 170-run second wicket partnership with Hashan Tillekeratne (81 not out), credited his "balance" of fast and slow bowlers as well as the partnership for the victory. "We had a balance of spin and pace bowlers ... which helped us. Hashan and me got big totals and we saw it through," he said. Jayasuriya was declared man-of-the-match.However, he said the heat and humidity were a major impediment to playing conditions."It was very hot and humid and not easy to bat. There were problems of dehydration among some players," Jayasuriya said.Fleming said his team's inability to build partnerships proved its undoing. But he was full of praise for Scott Styris "beautiful" 141 when the wickets were crumbling around him."Styris was superb today, but Jayasuriya took the game away from us," he said. PTI

Centurion Styris lone warrior in New Zealand's ruins
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