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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Fleming seeks improvement
Stephen Fleming
Fleming and his team must raise their game at Headingley
New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming tried to focus on the positives in his side's performance after their defeat by England at Lord's.

Fleming said they had been 50-60 runs short of the total they had been looking for in their second innings.

"We had high hopes today, but it wasn't to be. We made England play well for the win, which is what it's about.

"There's a big challenge ahead. England are a very good side - we know that. It's going to be a close series."

Fleming, who led the Black Caps to a 2-1 series win in England in 1999, will be looking for a bigger contribution from his middle order batsmen in the second Test at Headingley.

Scott Styris and Craig McMillan contributed a total of only 10 runs between them in the game, and they could ill afford the run out of Jacob Oram for four on the fourth day.

"There were times when we could have played better and maybe the result would have been different.

"It would have been nice if we'd got an extra 50 or 60, but a spell of bowling yesterday afternoon by England was good for them, and we were probably that many short," he said.

"Their reverse swing bowling took effect, stopped the scoring rate and they also picked up wickets with Ashley Giles at the other end."

Fleming praised England newcomer Andrew Strauss, who was named Man of the Match in his debut Test after scoring 112 and 83.

The pair were team-mates were once team-mates at Middlesex and Fleming said his quality had been obvious then.

"I liked the look of him when I was here two or three years ago.

"He always looked a good player but to emerge on the scene and hurt us in the way he did was pretty disappointing from my point of view."

Fleming also paid tribute to Nasser Hussain, whose unbeaten 103 streered England to victory.

"It was a wonderful knock. He is a gutsy player and it was a fine stage for him to perform."

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming
"Nothing went for us today"

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