In his own words, tweeted five days before his death in Mumbai on Thursday, the tied Test match between India and Australia in 1986 changed Dean Jones’ life forever.
The double century Jones made in the sweltering Chennai heat is hailed as one of Australia’s greatest Test innings. To date, it is stunning to think it was just his third match for Australia.
Batting in the converted one-down position, Jones top-scored for Australia with an innings of 210 that lasted for more than 500 minutes. He was dehydrated and could barely stand up midway through the innings.
“I didn’t drink water overnight. One hour into day two I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t drink anything apart from a cup of tea or coffee. We didn’t know anything about dehydration and rehydration back then. Then I just batted from memory basically. I can’t remember much from 120 on. I know nearly every shot in every innings I played. I can’t remember a thing after 120 in that innings,” he had told ESPNCricinfo.
Recounting a chat he had with captain Allan Border, Jones said in a documentary about the famous match at Chepauk that he felt “10-feet tall” being told that he was going to take up the prestigious No 3 slot, feeling invincible when he walked out of the room.
‘[Border] said right ‘you’re my number three for the next couple years do you want it... he looked down the barrel at me and asked do you want it’. I keep thinking of Bradmans and the Chappells and all these type of stuff. After one hour of talking to me about what’s required as a Test cricketer and as a Test batsman, a number three batsman, I walked out of that room feeling 10-foot tall. I just thought I was invincible. I just felt Allan Border put a red coat around and put and “S” on the front,” Jones remembered.
Australia made 574/7 in the first innings and declared after batting for 170.5 overs. Riding on Kapil Dev’s century, India made 397 all out in their first innings. Australia once again declared, this time making 170/5. Set a target of 348, India were all out of 347.
“Dean Jones was a hero to a generation of cricketers and will forever be remembered as a legend of this great game,” Cricket Australia Chairman Earl Eddings said.
“Anyone who watched cricket in the 1980s and 1990s will fondly recall his cavalier approach at the crease and the incredible energy and passion he brought to every game he played.
“Although many remember him for his brilliance in the 50-over game, arguably Jones’ finest moment in the national team came in scorching conditions in Chennai in 1986, where his selfless and courageous innings of 210 helped Australia to a famous tie against India.”
Here’s Border and Jones talking about the Test in an old interview:
The tributes to Dean Jones made repeated mentions to that innings in Chennai: