Simon Jones: My 11th one-day game ever - and something to build on

One-day cricket and myself are strangers, so it was a pretty unfamiliar sensation to make my international debut in Bulawayo yesterday. It got to be odder still when Michael Vaughan asked me to bowl at the death of the Zimbabwe innings.

Bowling at the end of a limited-overs innings is one of the toughest tasks a bowler can face (OK, bowling to Brian Lara on a flat deck at Antigua is probably up there as well), and here I was, a bowler who knew next to nothing about bowling in a one-day match at any stage. In a seven-year professional career I had played all of 10 one-day matches before yesterday.

Eight of those were for Glamorgan, the other two were for England A on the tour of India earlier this year. It continues to be a mystery to me why my county have not given me more opportunities in the short game so far, and they have never really explained their thinking to me.

So it was that I lined up in Bulawayo yesterday. I was nervous, but not quite as apprehensive as I had been on my first Test appearance. I knew that I had to keep it straight but still try to take wickets - but then that always has to be my role as bowler.

Bizarrely, I felt a little jaded. Maybe I had overdone it in the nets on Friday when I worked up a head of steam. It was completely encouraging that the pitch turned out to be smashing for batting. On Friday it had looked green, which had given us bowlers reason to hope for some movement. Then the groundsman shaved off every blade of grass before the match. Sneaky!

I was moderately pleased with how it went. The ball that gave me my first one-day international wicket - there had only been four in all previously - was a pretty good nut. It is true that Brendan Taylor, Zimbabwe's opener, might have been a bit stuck in his crease, but the ball was on off stump and had to be played.

One of my overs, it is true, yielded eight runs. That puts you under a bit of pressure the next over. But I have been working pretty hard in the nets with Duncan Fletcher, Matthew Maynard and Darren Gough. I was much more confident of my accuracy than I would have been even two years ago when I made my Test debut. Goughie, who was rested for the game to give me an opportunity, is always there with decent advice, and after I had bowled the last over he gave me a hint I shall remember.

The last ball of the innings was driven for four, and England's leading one-day wicket-taker advised me that it would have been better to bowl a bouncer rather than an attempted yorker.

This was an invaluable work-out, and while it was significant because it was my England one-day debut, it could also have a bearing on my future on this tour. Bowling in the middle is always more useful than bowling in the nets.

Enough about me. England played as clinically as we were expected to do. Zimbabwe put up a serviceable total and at the start of the innings they batted pretty well, taking a risk-free approach. Stuart Matsikenyeri particularly caught the eye, as Elton Chigumbura had done in the first match of the series. He was able to trust the pitch and hit through the line of the ball.

Our fielding stopped them from going on to something more impressive than their eventual total of 238. We had managed quite a few direct hits before we got two run-outs in the middle of the innings. True, the Zimbabwe batsmen contributed to their own dismissals, but this was also reward for the work that the coach has insisted we put in. In fact, Zimbabwe have acquitted themselves pretty well, even though they are 3-0 down in the series with a game to play.

It has been said (repeatedly said, actually) that the Zimbabwe team are suffering from inexperience, but in truth their total of caps for yesterday's match came to 321 while England's was 280. And nobody could have been as wet behind the ears as me.

Flat pitch or not, Vikram Solanki's innings was a special effort, showing the cleanest of strikers in all his glory. He got it in his mind to step down the wicket to the seamers and, believe me, that rattles you. I would have hated it if someone had done it to me.

I have been selected for today's final match. We want to win 4-0, then go on to the big business of the winter in South Africa.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick