Jones pledges England will maintain combative line

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The Independent Online

If England's players continue to react to supposed Australian intimidation as they did during Tuesday's fiery NatWest series encounter, it can only be a matter of time before one of the team makes the "99" call. This, of course, was the cry made famous on the 1974 British Lions tour of South Africa. The call, which also happens to be the number on Michael Vaughan's back, was the signal which told each of the players that they had to go over and thump their opposite number.

Andrew Flintoff against Andrew Symonds would be a decent contest, and Simon Jones might fancy his chances against Brett Lee, but it is doubtful that Andrew Strauss would relish the prospect of taking on Matthew Hayden.

Jones, who instigated the ugly confrontation with Hayden at Edgbaston when he threw the ball at the batsman, yesterday promised that England would continue to play aggressive cricket against Australia, despite the unsavoury nature of the confrontation.

"You can't turn the other cheek or do anything like that," the Glamorgan fast bowler said. "You've got to get in there and get involved, and if we can keep doing that it's going to be a good summer. We play in a controlled and aggressive manner, but we don't go over the top with that. Any game against Australia is going to be full on. We're very confident in what we are doing and they are one of the best teams in the world."

When Hayden was hit in the chest by Jones's throw, he refused to accept the bowler's apology. But by the end of the washed-out match, the pair had shaken hands. "He wasn't too happy," Jones said. "I wouldn't have been too happy if a bowler had done that to me. He knows the game and knows that things happen and we shook hands afterwards. If I'd thrown it and not apologised, it might have been a different story. But I apologised and that was the end of it."