Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

England hail Alex Hales as century seals record run chase

Record-breaker: Alex Hales scored England's first T20 ton

Alex Hales was left to reflect on the most remarkable night of his career after becoming the first England batsman to score a Twenty20 century.

Hales' brutal 116 not out against Sri Lanka contained 11 fours and six sixes, the last of which confirmed England's biggest ever successful chase and reinvigorated their World T20 campaign.

The Nottinghamshire man, who has previously been dismissed for 99 and 94, faced just 64 deliveries in his match-winning turn and showed why he was ranked as the format's number one batsman only a matter of weeks ago.

Failure to chase down Sri Lanka's testing 189 for four would have left England facing near-certain elimination, but their dramatic six-wicket success leaves them with everything to play for.

"It's definitely my best day for England, without a shadow of a doubt," said the 25-year-old opener.

"It's an amazing feeling and it hasn't sunk in yet.

"Centuries in this format don't come along very often and I've got out a couple of times in the 90s, so I was pleased to get over the line.

"I always had the confidence I would get the chance again and I'm buzzing it came in a winning side and in a huge fixture for our country."

England captain Stuart Broad said it was "a very special knock, one of the best I've seen in an England shirt" .

He added: "To take the responsibility and have the run-rate that we had, to keep up with that all the way through, and then to win it with a few balls to spare is very special."

Earlier, the Netherlands bounced back from the humiliation of being bowled out for 39 by the Sri Lankans to get within six runs of South Africa's 145 for nine. The Dutch were bowled out with eight balls unused.

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