Jones shines against Windies

State Auckland Aces’ attacking intent had its rewards on the opening day of the three-day tour cricket match against the West Indies in Auckland today.

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Captain Richard Jones set a fine example with an unbeaten 186 as Auckland racked up 359 for two by stumps.

The home side fully appreciated a fine batting surface and short boundaries at Eden Park Outer Oval as they overcame the early loss of Martin Guptill, with Jones to the fore.

The 35-year-old former international crafted his 13th first-class century and shared a second wicket stand of 223 with tall left-hander Tim McIntosh.

Their partnership was broken shortly before tea when McIntosh was dismissed for 78, lifting his first-class aggregate this summer to 418 runs at an average of 69.

He was very much the junior partner to Jones as they went to lunch at 134 for one.

Jones continued to dominate after the interval, racing quickly to his century before taking a more measured approach later on.

He employed the cut and pull strokes to telling affect as he hit 25 fours and three sixes.

Once McIntosh departed Jones formed another alliance with Reece Young, who was on 55 not out at the close after an unbroken partnership of 125.

Jones, playing in his 108th first-class match, resumes tomorrow just two runs short of equalling his career best score of 188.

Earlier, after the start of play was delayed due to drizzle the tourists' sole success in the first session came when opener Guptill edged Fidel Edwards to second slip.

Guptill, back in the side after an injury-enforced break, had scored 10 when Sewnarine Chattergoon held the offering with the Auckland total on 11 in the third over.

The oval has been a haven for batsmen this summer, with last week's domestic State Championship match between Auckland and Wellington producing 974 runs for the loss of just 12 wickets despite it being reduced to a three-day affair due to rain.

The West Indies batsmen will sleep easy tonight knowing their turn comes tomorrow.

The match is the only warmup for the tourists before the first of two tests against the BLACKCAPS starting in Dunedin next Thursday.

NZPA

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