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Fleming and Astle stand firm for New Zealand

Written by: Staff
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CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Apr 27 (Reuters) The experience of Stephen Fleming and Nathan Astle held New Zealand's innings together on the first day of the second test against South Africa today.

New Zealand, who were put in to bat, were 181 for three at tea with captain Fleming 54 and Astle 47 in an unbroken stand of 99.

Including this match, Fleming and Astle have played 179 tests between them.

Openers Michael Papps and Peter Fulton rode out a challenging first hour with fast bowlers Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn finding movement off the seam consistently and beating the bat.

Edges fell close to fielders but never within reach.

Fast bowler Andre Nel, who came on at first change in the 12th over, struck in the fourth over before lunch when he swung a delivery into Papps, who was bowled for 22 to end the first-wicket stand at 50.

Fulton, who scored 36, was removed eight balls after lunch when he played a tentative stroke to a ball from Steyn and edged it to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

New Zealand were reduced to 82 for three in the ninth over after lunch when Ntini had Scott Styris caught by Boeta Dippenaar at first slip for 11.

Fleming's timing improved the longer he was at the crease, and Astle overcame a slow start to his innings.

Astle survived a confident appeal for caught behind off Nel on nine, but South Africa did not look like separating the fourth-wicket pair after that.

Left-arm spinner Nicky Boje turned the ball appreciably, but he was not rewarded and conceded 27 runs in his seven overs.

REUTERS PDS PM1948

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