Masterful Jones Leads the Charge

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Byline: DAVID LLOYD

GERAINT JONES produced his most promising performance yet in the opening role as England tried to take charge of their one-day series against South Africa.

Jones, pushed up from No7 on this trip, contributed eight towards the win in Johannesburg and then made 20 before Wednesday's thriller in Johannesburg ended as a tie.

But today, in the third match of this seven-game series, Jones suggested he was learning the ropes as a limitedovers opener by mixing power and patience before departing for 39, off 46 balls, in an ultimately disappointing fashion.

The Kent keeper has also brought a sense of urgency to proceedings with his aggressive running and, although direct hits would have left him stranded on a couple of occasions this afternoon, he continued to put South Africa's fielders under pressure.

England, without the virus-hit Michael Vaughan, lost acting-captain Marcus Trescothick (33) after a stand of 49.

But Jones, assisted by the recalled Vikram Solanki, took charge and looked set for something substantial until tamely chipping a return catch to spinner Nicky Boje as England reached 128 for two from 26 overs.

Trescothick led the side in the field on Wednesday because of Vaughan's illness. This time, though, he was in charge from the start and, having chosen to bat, had every intention of getting the team away to a good start.

Jones produced the first shot in real anger, driving Shaun Pollock way beyond the boundary at long on when South Africa's senior paceman gave him a rare opportunity to swing his arms early in the fifth over. …