Jones: Good start is vital
Former Ashes winner wants England to make an early statement
Last Updated: 04/11/10 4:44pm
Geraint Jones believes England need to fire a warning shot to the Aussies in their opening tour match against Western Australia on Friday.
"If the England side can get off to a good start they can get the press to turn on the home side and that will be massive."
Geraint Jones Quotes of the week
The wicketkeeper was an Ashes winner in 2005 but was also part of the squad that were whitewashed by Ricky Ponting's men in the 2006/07 series, and has not played a Test since.
Those five Test defeats were preceded by a winless run of three largely uncompetitive tour games against a Prime Minster's XI, New South Wales and South Australia.
However, the England management team were adamant that a better preparation was required this time around and Jones believes an impressive performance in Perth will give them a huge boost with the start of first Test just three weeks away.
"Warm-up games are really important and that was a big thing of our trip last time," he said. "We didn't have any success early on but you need to have some to get a bit of confidence.
"The side at the moment is so full of confidence, so if they can go out and play well and try to get a win, that will start the tour off fantastically and send out the message to the Australian players and press that it's a serious side they're going to come up against."
Jones believes the strife in the Australian media regarding the captaincy of Ricky Ponting and the make-up of the side can play into the hands of the tourists.
"At the moment it's probably the first time in a long time that the Aussie press are on the English side with the way they're talking about their side and with the questions over Ponting and if he'll go if they lose again.
"If the England side can get off to a good start they can get the press to turn on the home side and that will be massive.
"Australia are going through a huge transition and the number of players they've given games to over the last 18 months has been huge compared to the last 10 years.
"The stats would be quite interesting to look at. The England side is pretty much settled and you could sit down and name the batting line-up straight away.
"Australia are talking about which batters, bowlers and spinners they're going to play, so they're hugely unsettled compared to in 2006 when they had nine months to prepare and all their legends were looking to bounce back from losing the Ashes in 2005."
Many pundits and former players have highlighted the opening Test in Brisbane as being key to the overall outcome of the series, but while acknowledging the importance of the result in Queensland, Jones believes the second Test in Adelaide could prove to be the most vital.
England posted 551 in their first innings at the Adelaide Oval in 2006 but still went on to lose the match.
"The first Test is important but ultimately I think the crunch period is the second and third Tests, because if you can have wins in those then you're ahead," Jones said.
"Adelaide proved crucial in that last time where we were on top and the Aussies pulled a win out of nowhere so I think that second Test in Adelaide could be vital because, depending how the first one goes, you can bounce back on take a really strong lead."