There weren’t too many positives emerging out of the England camp after the first innings against Sri Lanka at Leeds. Barring Jonny Bairstow’s counterattacking ton where the wicketkeeper slammed 140 off 183 deliveries, there was nothing much to write about. But, Alex Hales’ timely and patient 86 right at the top definitely had something worth bragging and making a clear point.
Often seen as a T20 specialist by pundits across the globe, Hales played a knock which is extremely unlike his usual style. His 86 lasted for 325 minutes and at a time where all other batsmen struggled against the Sri Lankan seamers. But more than just the runs, it was a sense of calm and maturity displayed by Hales, which deserves a mention. Usually an attacking batsman, Hales controlled his instincts to grind it in the middle and stick around, to ensure that England gets to a respectable total.
Though he was quite unfortunate to miss out on his maiden test century, Hales will be definitely pleased with his outing in the middle. The right-hander had a mediocre debut series away from home, as he could manage just one half-century against the Proteas in 8 innings.
In his interaction post the first day’s play, Hales said that he has altered a few things in his batting. “I definitely feel in a better place,” Hales said. “I tweaked a few things, especially around off stump. In South Africa maybe a couple of times I got caught between defence and attack. “Even though I wasn’t scoring the runs at no point did I feel out of my depth. I think it was me making mistakes rather than bowlers getting me out,” said Hales.
“At the start of my career, I’d rather it was that way knowing it’s up to me to correct a few things. I’m still a work in progress but I do feel confident. “I feel like I have come a long way in the last six months and hopefully, I can continue,” the right-hander added.