Simon Jones completed a fine return to first-class cricket to lead England A to the first win of their tour of India here yesterday. The Glamorgan paceman claimed 5 for 31 to finish with an overall haul of 10 for 88 in the match as England A beat the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association by 187 runs.
Jones' performance, after 15 months out injured, boosts his chances of joining up with the full England squad on the tour of West Indies later this month. He ruptured knee ligaments in the first Ashes Test against Australia in Brisbane late in 2002.
Jones, 25, said: "I felt terrible this morning - I had a bit of stiffness - but at lunch I had some treatment and felt good this afternoon. I was happy with my rhythm. This performance has helped me a hell of a lot. I came to Chennai not 100 per cent happy because I'd had a couple of rhythm-less bowling spells in Bangalore. But it clicked for me and that has helped me.
"My knee has felt great over the last few days. There has been a bit of stiffness when I first bowl. But I put some ice on it, so I'm really happy with the progress. The slow pitch was a challenge but we had the ball reverse-swinging and that was a big help."
England A added 44 runs yesterday morning before declaring on 295 for 9 to set their hosts a target of 331. Sivaramakrishnan Vidyut was the pick of the home attack with 5 for 74.
Somerset's Simon Francis struck early on to remove both openers, but after that it was Jones who did all the damage. He ran through the middle order and finished off the innings when he ended Ganapathi Vignesh's hopes of salvaging a draw by removing the tailender for a stubborn 39-ball duck. His second spell of the day yielded figures of 3 for 3 from four overs.
Victory should lift morale after England A lost all three matches in their one-day series with India A. Their campaign in the Duleep Trophy, India's domestic first-class competition, begins next week in Jalandhar.
(Final day of four)
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association won toss
ENGLAND A - First innings 368 (K P Pietersen 147, M J Prior 81)
TAMIL NADU CA - First innings 333 (K Vasudevadas 98; S P Jones 5-57)
ENGLAND A - Second innings (Overnight 251 for 6)
G G Wagg c Mathew b Vignesh 8
J C Tredwell not out 12
S A Khalid c sub b Vidyut 1
S P Jones b Vignesh 25
Extras (b1 lb1 w1 nb13) 16
Total (for 9 dec, 75.4 overs) 295
Fall: 1-125 2-125 3-180 4-207 5-246 6-251 7-256 8-260 9-295.
Did not bat: S R G Francis.
Bowling: Ganapathy 12-0-49-0; Vignesh 16.4-2-51-2; Ganesh Kumar 19-4-71-1; S Suresh 7-2-16-1; Vidyut 15-2-74-5; Vasudevadas 6-0-32-0.
TAMIL NADU CA - Second innings
K A Srikkanth b Francis 3
S Vidyut b Francis 27
S Suresh c Pietersen b Wagg 38
K Vasudevadas c Tredwell b Jones 15
S S Viswanathan c Lumb b Tredwell 18
E Suresh c Prior b Jones 0
S R Ganesh Kumar lbw b Jones 6
P Mathew b Jones 6
G Vignesh c Lumb b Jones 0
C Ganapathy not out 13
R Jesuraj absent hurt 0
Extras (b15 lb2) 17
Total (all out, 46.5 overs) 143
Fall: 1-7 2-52 3-76 4-95 5-95 6-103 7-119 8-143 9-143.
Bowling: Jones 11.5-3-31-5; Francis 7-2-30-2; Wagg 11-5-18-1; Tredwell 16-5-42-1; Khalid 1-0-5-0.
Umpires: S N Bandekar and M S Mahal.
* The Yorkshire-born pace bowlers Tim Bresnan and David Stiff both took 4 for 7 as England crushed Uganda by 213 runs in the Under-19s World Cup in Chittagong yesterday. England scored 259 for 7 in their 50 overs, Uganda replying with 46.