Between 1984 and 1992, Jones played 52 Test matches for Australia, scoring 3,631 runs, including 11 centuries, at an average of 46.55. His most notable innings was in only his third Test against India in the Tied Test in Chennai (Madras) in 1986. Suffering from dehydration in the oppressively hot and humid conditions, Jones was frequently vomiting on the pitch. He wanted to go off the field "retired ill" which led his captain Allan Border to say that if he could not handle the conditions, "then let's get a real Australian" (Greg Ritchie, a Queenslander like Border, was the next man in to bat). This comment spurred Jones to score 210, an innings he considered a defining moment in his career and one of the epic Test innings in Australian cricket folklore. Jones was one of Australia's most successful batsmen in One Day International matches.
In 164 matches he scored 6,068 runs, including seven centuries and 46 half-centuries, at an average of 44.61. His strike rate of 72.56, while pedestrian by modern standards, was a benchmark at the time. Jones played in the 1987 World Cup winning team, and was noted for his electric running between the wickets, outstanding out-fielding and aggressive batting especially against fast bowlers. With his positive, aggressive and flamboyant style of play he became a crowd favourite.