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England v Pakistan 3rd Test

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Chris Read
Read and Jones are both likely to tour Australia
The choice of England's wicket-keeper has been a keenly-debated topic ever since Geraint Jones surprisingly replaced Chris Read in Antigua two years ago.

Although Read had kept wicket admirably in difficult conditions on that tour, he had not scored the runs that England needed.

It seemed a harsh decision at the time, but when Jones scored a century in his third Test against New Zealand, it was one most people seemed prepared to accept.

But despite batting brilliantly in the fourth Ashes Test last summer, that solitary century remains the total sum from Jones' 31 Tests.

He has managed just one half-century from his last nine appearances but it is ironic that it is his batting that has cost him his place.

Over the past two years, his wicket-keeping has ranged from dreadful to outstanding, and he has never kept wicket better for England than in the last two Tests.

It is to be hoped Read's return comes with the similarly generous guarantee of an extended run that Jones was given

But what is good for one has to be good for the other.

While Duncan Fletcher will not entirely have approved of the decision, the time had come for Jones to sort out his batting in county cricket - something he honestly acknowledges.

Read has been scoring heavily this summer, averaging 42, and has never been far from the selectors' thoughts for the one-day squad in particular.

All eyes will be on him at Headingley, although it is to be hoped that his return comes with the similarly generous guarantee of an extended run that Jones was given in Antigua.

Certainly, it will be interesting which of the two - for Jones is sure to tour - will now start as the senior man in Australia.

Sajid Mahmood retains his place in the squad, but was very disappointing at Old Trafford.

He is, after all, the same height as Steve Harmison and is capable of working up a similar pace.

But after a promising opening over he was innocuous in helpful conditions and Jon Lewis looks a good bet to replace him at Headingley on Friday.

Pakistan in England 2006
27 Jun 06 |  Future tour dates
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19 Apr 06 |  Cricket


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