Jones settles into new role with ton
Kent 257 for 3 (Jones 103, van Jaarsveld 70*) trail Northamptonshire 355 (Boje 98, Mahmood 4 for 73) by 95 runs
At the start of the 2005 Ashes summer Kent wicketkeeper Geraint Jones was an integral part of the England set up, yet he starts this season of expectation as his county's new No3 batsman and a long way down his country's pecking order behind the stumps.
However, Jones remains phlegmatic over his demise from the England set-up, preferring instead to concentrate on raising sheep, pigs and a family at his Kentish smallholding, while scoring runs for fun for his club. He rode his luck in cracking a 110-ball century against Northamptonshire and was dropped on seven and then 87 in the sunshine at Canterbury, but his blustery innings with 16 fours and six helped advance a game that threatened to get stuck in the doldrums.
Northamptonshire had limped forward at a sedate pace throughout the four sessions of their first innings in posting 355 at a rate of only 2.7 per over, yet Jones and his team-mates upped the entertainment value considerably once they got to the crease soon after lunch on the second day.
With no extreme pace in the attack to worry about Kent clattered a flurry of boundaries that kept the St Lawrence scoreboard ticking over at more than four-an-over and, as a result, inside two sessions, they had reduced Northamptonshire's lead to just 95.
After batting at his new county position of No. 3 for the first time, a delighted Jones said: "I had my fair share of luck with two fairly straightforward chances missed, but that's the way I've set myself up to play now. I had a couple of years scratching around trying to be a proper batsman, now I'm going back to my roots and if I see the ball up there I'm going to try and hit it.
"It's nice start for me and to get a hundred first up is fantastic although I am aware that it will be hard work what with keeping and batting at No. 3. Our umpire today, Barry Duddleston had a spell doing the same in his playing days, and he asked me how I would cope with the work rate? I just said 'it'll be fine; I've got the winter to sleep!
"I'm really looking forward to it, it's what I set myself to do over the winter and I know it will be tough work, but I'll look after myself, have plenty of massage from the physiotherapist and generally make sure I take care of my body."
Jones's luck finally ran out the ball after he celebrated his ton when seamer David Wigley held on to a stinging return catch, but there was still no let up for the Northamptonshire attack. Thereafter Kent pushed on with a flurry of boundaries through to stumps as Martin van Jaarsveld (70 not out) and Darren Stevens (46 not out) added an attractive, unbroken 78 for the fourth wicket.
Earlier Kent's weakened attack performed heroics by claiming the last five Northamptonshire wickets for 87 runs in a shade over two-and-a-half hours. Nicky Boje, 77 not out overnight, was two short of a century when he edged James Tredwell's first ball of the day into the gloves of Jones. There was little resistance after that and Azhar Mahmood finished with 4 for 73 and Tredwell 2 for 84.