Victorian Dean Jones was arguably the greatest one-day batsman of the 1980s, an attacking-minded entertainer with a scintillating array of shots. But he also possessed the classic cricketing instincts, patience and resolve to become a valuable member of the Australian Test team during a rebuilding era.
Jones’ muscular Test average of 46.55 – including 11 centuries – in 52 Tests was testament to his quality, but a stunning average of 44.61 in 164 ODIs (including seven tons) pegged the aggressive talisman as one of the most brilliant exponents the limited-overs format had seen.
He broke into the Test team in 1984, playing two matches against the all-conquering West Indies, but was forced to bide his time for two and a half years before getting another crack. Jones’ return to the side was spectacular to say the least – he scored an incredible 210 against India in the tied Test at Madras, suffering badly from dehydration in the oppressive conditions.
The legendary Bob Simpson declared Jones’ heroic knock as the best-ever innings by an Australian, while it deservedly holds a hallowed place in Australian cricketing folklore.
Jones scored a career-high 216 against the Windies in Adelaide in 1989, while later that year he tallied 566 runs at 70.75 in Australia’s Ashes triumph in England. A regular run-maker at Test level over ensuing seasons, he was controversially dropped at the start of the 1992-93 summer despite topping the averages in the previous series against Sri Lanka.
The brash, outspoken No.3’s swashbuckling performances in the one-day format helped cement its popularity during the 1980s. Jones was at his peak during 1987, scoring three centuries in four matches during the World Series on home soil, and making three important 50s in Australia’s World Cup triumph on the subcontinent.
He continued to dominate the one-day scene thereafter. In 34 innings for Australia between January 1989 and December 1990, Jones posted 14 half-centuries and four centuries. He played on in the ODI team until the 1994 tour of South Africa.
Jones’ strike-rate of 72.56 in one-dayers, while modest by modern standards, was the benchmark of the era. He retired 14th on the list of Australia’s highest Test run-scorers, and second in ODIs; Jones remains ninth in the one-day stakes for Australia.
As proud a Victorian as they come, Jones also enjoyed stints with Durham and Derbyshire, and scored 19,188 runs (including 55 centuries) in a first-class career spanning 17 seasons. A high-score of 324 not out, which coincidentally was also his Australian Test cap number, confirmed his status as far more than merely a one-day specialist.
DEAN JONES – CAREER STATISTICS
Australia – Tests (1984-92): 52 matches – 3631 runs @ 46.55, 100s: 11, 50s: 14, HS: 216; 1 wicket @ 64, BB: 1/5; 34 catches.
Australia – ODIs (1984-92): 164 matches – 6068 runs @ 44.61, 100s: 7, 50s: 46, HS: 145; 3 wickets @ 27, BB: 2/34; 54 catches.