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Monday, October 19, 2020

Dean Jones dead: the two innings that made Deano a test cricket legend

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Before there was James Faulkner, before there was Michael Hussey, before there was Michael Bevan – there was Dean Jones.

The reckless right-hander revolutionized the way the Australian cricket team played in the midst of ODI matches. While the over 10-40s were once considered a period of survival, it has sped up, looting anything free from opposition bowlers.

Jones was a pioneer, redefining the purpose of middle-class hitters in ODI cricket, an art that has since been perfected by the likes of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli.

When Jones played his last international match in 1994, only one cricketer had scored more ODI points than the Aussie with a higher average: Sir Vivian Richards.

But the Victorian’s legendary exploits in the one-day format of the game have sometimes overshadowed his exploits in five-day cricket.

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Jones played 52 test games – the same number as Sir Donald Bradman – finishing with 3631 runs at 46.55, including 11 centuries.

Of those 11 triple-digit scores, two innings highlighted his worth in the game’s longest format and are coincidentally the two highest scores of his international career.

Test cricket is won with grit and resilience – while any hitter with a good eye and strong levers can thrive in T20 cricket, you can’t succeed in five-day cricket without mental strength.

It’s a war of attrition and Dean Jones was a warrior.

216 vs WEST INDIES IN ADELAIDE, 1989

Taking on the West Indies in the 1980s would undoubtedly be the toughest challenge for any hitter. Boasting the likes of Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose, the attack on Caribbean rhythm remains the most intimidating bowling formation in the history of the sport.

Emerging from an era when Australia struggled religiously against the West Indies, Jones plundered a career-defining double century at Adelaide Oval in 1989.

While Marshall, Ambrose and Courtney Walsh bombarded his teammates with a flurry of short-pitched bowling, Jones made his way to 216 before running out of survivor 347 deliveries.

Dean Jones talks about his double century in Adelaide.
media_cameraDean Jones talks about his double century in Adelaide.

He stayed in the fold for nearly nine hours, patiently turning the strike and combining with skipper Allan Border and tailor Merv Hughes for the double-century grandstands.

After being overlooked for the first two games of the series, Jones solidified his place on the national team ahead of the groundbreaking 1989 Ashes series.

As revealed by the statistician “Swamp”, no batsman came close to registering a higher score against the famous West Indies bowling quartet in Test cricket.

210 vs INDIA AL MADRAS, 1986

It’s the most memorable innings of his professional career, and for good reason.

With only two test appearances to his credit, Jones was tasked with overtaking the talented Indian team in horrific conditions in Madras. Humidity and pulsating heat have led Australians to fight more than just the opposition.

Sweating, shivering and at one point vomiting near the pitch, Jones was thrown in and out of the ice baths during the breaks in his marathon inning.

He has once again formed a partnership with captain Allan Border, the pair joining for 178 for the fourth wicket.

As conditions worsened, Jones timidly suggested leaving the camp, retreating injured from exhaustion and dehydration.

Border’s famous response: “Okay, if that’s how you feel, let’s bring a real Aussie here. A Queenslander. “

Dean Jones during the 1986 parity test.
media_cameraDean Jones during the 1986 parity test.

READ MORE: Dan Andrews’ excavation after Deano’s death

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After being sacked for 210 – one inning that included 27 borders and two sixes – Jones was rushed to the hospital, his body dangerously short of fluids.

Each run proved crucial, with the match ending in a draw, the second similar case in testing history.

It was a performance that embodied the character required for Test cricket, and for this reason, many consider Jones’s inning in Madras the largest ever seen by an Australian.

Originally released as Forgotten Moment it made Deano a legend

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