Jones leaves Ponting with reminder for the Ashes

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Simon Jones, the England fast bowler who missed all of last season after sustaining a cruciate ligament injury in the first Test of the last Ashes tour, has struggled to find his best in international cricket since then. But he showed a welcome return to form for Glamorgan yesterday in their Second Division match against Somerset at Taunton, taking 5 for 94. Jones caught out Ricky Ponting and, prior to next summer's Ashes, gave the Australia captain an insight into what his side avoided last time.

Simon Jones, the England fast bowler who missed all of last season after sustaining a cruciate ligament injury in the first Test of the last Ashes tour, has struggled to find his best in international cricket since then. But he showed a welcome return to form for Glamorgan yesterday in their Second Division match against Somerset at Taunton, taking 5 for 94. Jones caught out Ricky Ponting and, prior to next summer's Ashes, gave the Australia captain an insight into what his side avoided last time.

Ponting has proved a useful acquisition for Somerset, second from bottom in the lower division. Two innings so far, two centuries. Since the four-day game began again after the Twenty20 hiatus, he has inspired their first victory of the season, by 10 wickets, and yesterday he scored 117 off 149 balls with 13 boundaries to give his side a 132-run lead.

Somerset made 394 with the England one-day specialist Ian Blackwell falling on 98, holding up the Welsh county's hopes of gaining ground on Nottinghamshire at the top of the division while the leaders have a week off. But the visitors responded with a confident 97 for 0.

Fellow promotion contenders Hampshire are enduring a torrid time at the Rose Bowl against Essex. Replying to the visitors' 416, they were bowled out for 177 with the New Zealand all-rounder Andre Adams taking 4 for 46. But they were spared the follow-on as Essex progressed to 116 for 3, a lead of 355.

In the First Division, Kent continued to pile on the runs against the champions, Sussex, at Canterbury. The latter are struggling to avoid relegation after their annus mirabilis, and allowed the hosts to total 527 with Matthew Walker compiling 157 off 254 balls with 16 fours and two sixes, the Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed taking 4 for 126.

Ten days ago, Sussex thrashed Kent by an innings to record only their second victory of the season but they faced the same prospect when they were bowled out for 332 by a makeshift Kent attack lacking Martin Saggers, Alamgir Sheriyar and James Tredwell. Robert Joseph, an Antiguan who is registered as a domestic player and making his county first-class debut, and Matthew Dennington, a South African who is similarly affiliated, both took three wickets - career-best figures for both pacemen.

Surrey thought it was a blip when Sussex won the title last year, but like them the Champions of 1999, 2000 and 2002 are struggling this season and face the humiliation of the drop. It was symptomatic of their season that they collapsed from 299 for 4 to 375 all out against Worcestershire at The Oval yesterday, losing their last four wickets for one run where in previous years the tailenders had handsomely boosted their totals so often.

Mark Ramprakash did go on to record his 71st first-class century, 130 off 253 balls with 20 fours and six. And another fillip was the return of Alex Tudor, the England fast bowler who has played just once this year after suffering a back problem, the latest of several injuries. He took 4 for 61 as the visitors closed on 281 for 8.

* The Surrey and former England all-rounder Adam Hollioake has retired from four-day cricket because of a persistent ankle injury, but he will be available for Saturday's Twenty20 Cup Finals Day at Edgbaston. The 32-year-old is due to retire from all cricket at the end of the season.

Comments