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Hales says dogged 71 'just a start' as he and Bairstow lead recovery

By David Clough

Alex Hales defied the expectations of many to hold England together at Headingley - but he described his unbeaten 71 as "just a start" in his bid to establish himself as a Test opener.

Swing and seam provided a stern test of technique and patience on day one of the Investec series against Sri Lanka - and while others faltered, including England captain Alastair Cook who fell short of his 10,000-run milestone, Hales proved he was up to the task.

England recovered from 83 for five, with 54 not out too from Jonny Bairstow, to close a rain-shortened day on 171-5.

Hales added: "I had to rein myself in a little bit.

"I'm pleased I managed to get through it, but it's just a start."

Belfast Telegraph


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