Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England in Charge as Jones Hits 100

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England in Charge as Jones Hits 100

Article excerpt

Byline: By Myles Hodgson

Geraint Jones solved the selectors' wicketkeeper-batsman dilemma with a maiden century to put England on course for an impressive second npower Test victory over New Zealand at Headingley.

Having spent most of the last year trying to fill the void left by Alec Stewart's retirement, England's search for a replacement was almost certainly called off yesterday following Jones stunning display on the fourth day.

His hundred, in only his fourth Test innings, enabled England to progress from an overnight deficit of 161 on 248 for four to claim a 117-run lead and put them on course to force victory in both the Test and the series after New Zealand slumped to 102 for five by the close of the fourth day.

Jones' display ended any debate about the merits of his inclusion having been preferred to Chris Read since the final Test of England's tour of the Caribbean this winter because of his greater batting potential.

Although he may suffer in comparison as a wicketkeeper, he more than makes up for it at the crease and followed his 46 during the opening Test triumph at Lord's with a stunning display at Headingley.

Arriving at the crease with England trailing New Zealand by 60 runs after seamer Chris Martin had bowled Graham Thorpe, Jones teamed up with Andrew Flintoff to propel England beyond the tourists' total and into a potentially decisive 117-run lead.

On a wicket beginning to show variable bounce, Jones decided attack was the best form of defence and set about demonstrating his capacity for dismissing anything square of the wicket with cuts and pulls.

He gave one chance when he edged Chris Cairns behind on 30 only for wicketkeeper Brendan McCullum to jump across captain Stephen Fleming at slip and miss it.

Jones went on to overshadow Flintoff's big-hitting during their century stand, contributing 61 to the partnership. …

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