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Hales hails opening partner

Alex Hales speaks exclusively to ecb.co.uk following England's win at Durham

Alex Hales modestly deflected praise towards opening partner Michael Lumb following his man-of-the-match display at the Emirates Durham ICG.

Hales thumped 94 from 61 deliveries to underpin a 27-run triumph for England in the second NatWest International Twenty20 that levelled the two-match series at 1-1.

Yet he was keen to highlight the efforts of his Nottinghamshire team-mate, who contributed 43 to an opening stand of 111 - the equal-highest partnership for England in T20s against Australia.

Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, Hales said: “I’ve relished opening the batting with him ever since he’s come to Notts. He’s a fantastic player and he really helps out the way I play as well.

“It’s just the way he gets off to a great start from ball one, whereas I take a little bit longer to get myself in at the crease. He takes that pressure off me by striking boundaries from ball one.

“I took a bit of time to get myself going, had a little bit of luck early. Lumby helped me out there, playing some fantastic shots, and made my job very easy.”

Hales once again came agonisingly close to recording the first century by an England player in the shortest format.

He and Luke Wright each struck 99 last year and Hales admitted memories of his close shave against West Indies at Trent Bridge did return as he neared three figures before falling in the penultimate over.

“I tried not to (think about it) but it was a little bit at the back of my mind,” added the 24-year-old.

“I didn’t have much of a choice but to tee off. I’m obviously a little disappointed to fall at the last hurdle but if someone had offered me that at the start of the day I would have taken it.

“Hopefully next time, if I get in that position again, I can get to three figures.”

With the exception of Marcus Trescothick and Ben Stokes, who have only featured in seven matches between them, Hales now possesses his country’s highest T20 international average, having struck 665 runs at 39.11.

“The start to his Twenty20 career has been fantastic and hopefully that can continue,” said skipper Stuart Broad.

“He used his head, which is sometimes unlike him, to target the wind, which was going to be important here at Durham. To get in the nineties again was an amazing effort.

“I think the crowd were disappointed for him not to go and get three figures, but I don’t think he’s far away from that.”

Broad was delighted with another powerful England batting display and also heaped praise on Jade Dernbach, who once again claimed three wickets.

“I’m really happy with the way we’ve batted in both games. We’ve shown power to get over 200 (two days ago) and near to 200 (with 195 for five today),” he added.

“We’ve still got a little bit of work to do with the skills with the ball, but the standout bowler for us was definitely Jade Dernbach.

“To get the wickets he’s got, but also to bowl at the times he has - he’s been really good for us.

“It was important for us to come out with a win today. I think it’s a fair result in the series.

“Australia were world-class at the Ageas Bowl (when scoring 248 for six en route to a 39-run win) and we were fantastic today, so I don’t think either side can argue with a one-all draw. A lot of positives have come out for both sides.”

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