Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Opener Hales All White but Is Ready to See Red

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Opener Hales All White but Is Ready to See Red

Article excerpt

ALEX Hales is hoping he can be part of "something special" in all formats with England's improving team.

Hales' match-winning 99, curiously the second time he has fallen one short of a century in his relatively short international career to date, was a heartening performance on Saturday after his Test travails in South Africa.

The opener's resourceful innings, on a slow pitch which did not play to his attacking strengths, set the stage for big-hitting Jos Buttler to finish the match in style at Port Elizabeth - where England took a 2-0 one-day international series lead.

A third successive victory at Centurion tomorrow will give the tourists an unassailable advantage, with two to play, to add to the Test success which knocked South Africa off their world number one perch.

For Hales, however, that maiden Test series was decidedly patchy - containing just one half-century in eight innings, and six scores under 20.

The 27-year-old knows, on that basis, he will start this summer with a point to prove and a place to claim at the top of the order alongside Test captain Alastair Cook.

Before then, England have the chance to win two limited-overs series over the next two weeks - and then bid for only the second global trophy in their history at the ICC World Twenty20.

Hales is sure to be heavily involved, with the squad to fly to India next month set to be named on Wednesday.

He acknowledges he has so far established himself only against the white ball for England, but is ambitious to be a Test regular too.

"Certainly, in my England career, I've loved playing the white ball," he said. "I'm obviously still new to the red-ball format.

"But I've been part of some great teams, and it looks as though we've got something special building here with this bunch of guys."

He believes 50 and 20-over runs can ease his path to an extended run in the Test team. …

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