Opening sessions of an Ashes series don't get much different, for Simon Jones at least. The last time England commenced another epic series against Australia, on the first morning at Brisbane in November, 2002, Jones was removed from combat before the session was out, his absence adding to a catalogue of fast-bowling woe that had already made Darren Gough and Steve Harmison ineligible for selection.
On that fateful morning at Brisbane, Jones dismissed Justin Langer early on, but that proved to be his sole contribution when, with the series just 28 overs old, he ruptured his knee ligaments in a horrific fielding incident. Jones didn't return to the Test stage for another 16 months.
Today, at Lord's, a fighting-fit Jones - the very embodiment of a robust England - set out determined to banish such demons. He didn't have to wait long. With his very first ball, all his bad memories vanished into the ether when he induced Damien Martyn's edge. For good measure, Jones added Michael Clarke three overs later, leaving him with 2 for 15 before lunch. Jones is back to his very fastest and, with a booming awayswinger added to his armoury, is a more effective battler than ever.
Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo