Alex Hales aware his England spot is under threat despite recent ton
Alex Hales needs more big runs to stay in contention for a top-order England position.
Alex Hales knows he needs to keep smashing big hundreds for record-breaking England to stay in with a chance of being more than a fringe player.
Hales used that description himself as he acknowledged, on the eve of his 147 at Trent Bridge, that his hold on a top-order spot has become tenuous.
The 29-year-old went on to help England wrap up a series victory over Australia thanks to a new world-record one-day international total of 481 for six.
Yet even in the glow of his man-of-the-match contribution to a mammoth 242-run victory, as England move on to Chester-le-Street on Thursday 3-0 up with two to play, he insists his situation remains as it was.
The brilliant form of England’s two incumbent openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow means they have moved ahead of him in the pecking order – and when key all-rounder Ben Stokes returns from his hamstring injury, someone will have to drop out.
Hales could hardly have stated a more compelling case for continued inclusion at number three than with his 16 fours and five sixes from 92 balls – but there again Bairstow, with one boundary fewer from the same number of deliveries in his 139, and Roy (82) were hardly slouches either.
“To get a score like that at my home ground and get the record score is one of the days I’ll never forget in my life,” he said.
“(But) I don’t think my situation has changed much since (before the match) in terms of those two guys being ahead of me.
“You’ve got Jonny, who’s got four hundreds in (six) games – and Jason, when in form, is one of the best players in the world.
“I need to keep knocking on the door and scoring as many runs as I can. (This) was one step towards that.”
Stokes is set to rejoin the squad to continue his recovery from a torn left hamstring, and Hales is under no illusion about anyone keeping England’s habitual all-round match-winner out of the team once he is fit.
“I think that’s the situation I’m in,” he added.
“Every opportunity I get is going to be gold dust moving forward.
“Stokesy’s obviously going to slot back in – he’s one of the best all-rounders in the world.
“(So) I think it’s three of us fighting for two spots currently.”
England have called Craig Overton and Sam Curran into their squad for the last two ODIs, as cover in case any of their first-choice seamers needs a rest.