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Graveney delighted with Jones

Investec Test Series
Geraint Jones

Geraint Jones' batting is a massive asset to England © Getty Images

England enter this week's crucial fourth Ashes Test convinced Geraint Jones can establish himself as the best batsman/wicket-keeper available to the selectors.

Chairman of selectors David Graveney announced his third successive unchanged squad on Sunday morning for Trent Bridge, with England's stunning performances to win at Edgbaston and come within one wicket of victory at Old Trafford rewarding the faith of the selectors following Australia's emphatic win at Lord's.

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Jones dropped Shane Warne twice during a weather-hit third day of the last Test but he responded positively by hitting an unbeaten 27 off only 12 balls to help England set the declaration at Old Trafford and then claimed a superb reflex catch to end Warne's resistance on the final day.

"I thought he responded brilliantly," enthused Graveney.

"He had a tough period of time during the last Test as far as the media is concerned.

"There was only an hour of play so his area got a lot of attention, but the way he responded with the bat when we were setting up the declaration was superb and I also have a very vivid memory of his brilliant reaction catch to get rid of Shane Warne."

Geraint Jones

Geraint Jones is at the top of the wicket-keeping dismissals in international cricket this year © Getty Images

Jones heads the list of wicket-keeping dismissals this year with his 36 catches keeping him three ahead of South Africa's Mark Boucher.

Perhaps the biggest surprise has been the loss of form of Jones' rival in the Australian line-up with Adam Gilchrist, regarded as one of England's main threats to their ambition of reclaiming the Ashes, struggling through this current series.

Gilchrist has played one more Test than Jones this year but only has 21 catches to his name, a fact highlighted by his dropped catches at Old Trafford which allowed Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan to escape in the first innings.

It is those missed chances which former Australian captain Steve Waugh believes has affected the team as a whole and allowed England to dominate the last two Tests and level the series.

"The way I see it, England hold the advantage of better form while Australia have more potential to improve,'' said Waugh. "The influence of Gilchrist has yet to be felt and it is here that the balance of power may rest.

"Gilly's all-round game has appeared lethargic at times, and it is no coincidence that Australia have also lacked a sharpness and edge to their play that has characterised them in the past.

"Wicket-keepers are the soul of the team and their voice and actions have consequences second only to that of the captain, so it isn't really a surprise to see so many chances being squandered at present."

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