A maiden ODI hundred by Alex Hales followed by a display in the field of utter control as Pakistan’s batsmen foundered on a slowing pitch things could hardly have gone better in the second ODI in Abu Dhabi for an England side which sorely needed to summon a response after a heavy defeat in the opening encounter.
Alex Hales leads Nottinghamshire to six wicket victory over
A target of 284 was never within Pakistan’s compass as half the side departed for 50 by the 19th over, a pedestrian start during which England’s pace trio imposed total control. From there, it was about damage limitation and Sarfraz Ahmed’s 64 at least cut the deficit to 95 runs. By then much of the crowd was streaming away, so quick to abandon hope that Jurgen Klopp would regard Liverpool fans as steadfast by comparison.
Hales maiden hundred anchors England victory Cricket
Hales blitz lead England victory charge
The pitch’s dormant nature had earlier caused England fleeting disquiet as they failed to achieve the 300 Hales surely envisaged when he fell for 109 from 117 balls. One minute he had a hundred to his name, feeling empowered, indeed obliged, to accelerate with England 216 for 1 with more than 11 overs remaining, the next moment he was out, and batting looked a more onerous proposition for both sides from then on.
Notts star Alex Hales hits historic century for England
Hales’ hundred might have lacked the immediate cachet of his only other international hundred – he chose the febrile atmosphere of World Twenty20 in Bangladesh nearly two years ago to become the first England batsman to hit a century in this format. Pushing that aside, however, it was a well-judged affair, comfortably in excess of his previous best in 21 ODIs of 67, and its selective power gave the impression of a player of developing maturity.