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England v Australia, 5th Test, The Oval

England battle to get Simon Jones fit

Cricinfo staff

August 30, 2005

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Simon Jones has troubled Australia throughout the series © Getty Images
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Although England are outwardly pessimistic about the chances of Simon Jones being fit for the Ashes decider at The Oval, they are doing all they can to try to enable them to name an unchanged side for the fifth successive Test.

Jones, who limped out of the Nottingham Test, suffered soft tissue damage to his right ankle, and, according to the The Times of London, he will be placed in a sealed hyperbaric oxygen chamber in the coming days in a bid to speed up his recovery.

The device, which forces oxygen at an increased pressure to enter the body tissues, is primarily used for wound healing and also in the treatment of autism and cerebral palsy. Many people use hyperbaric to diminish bruising and swelling after plastic surgery, and it is also used to help deep-sea divers overcome the bends. More recently, it has been used by football and rugby players to hasten recovery from injury.

Jones, whose five wickets in Australia's first innings were crucial in forcing them to follow-on for the first time in 18 years, was able to send down just four overs in the second innings.

Duncan Fletcher, England's coach, remained pessimistic Jones will make it for the final Test: "I can't know at this stage whether he will be fit. But I'm not confident that he will play."

And Fletcher admitted it would be a blow if Jones, who has 18 wickets in the series, misses out at The Oval: "He will be a big loss because he seems to have one over on their batsmen. He seems to have won over a lot of their batsmen. The key word is loyalty. We showed loyalty to the players and that does help. It's something I'm quite strong on."

Fletcher also confirmed that the Test trio of Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire) and Giles and Ian Bell (both Warwickshire) would be allowed to play in Saturday's C & G Trophy one-day final at Lord's. "There's no back-to-back, it's not a problem. Mentally they've got enough time off with this day-off today so they can participate."

He also said he'd no objection to the England squad attending captain Michael Vaughan's benefit match at Headingley on Wednesday. "Everyone will be there, I don't know if they'll participate. It's going to be a fun afternoon. They can get their minds off it and just relax and help Michael in his benefit."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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