After leading an England fight back on day of the first Test with Sri Lanka, Alex Hales says he still has work to do on his game.
Alex Hales says he is still a "work in progress" in Test cricket after helping England recover from 83-5 on day one of the series opener against Sri Lanka.
The opening batsman made 71 not out in tough, overcast conditions at Headingley as he and Jonny Bairstow (54no) put on 88 for the sixth wicket to leave England 171-5 before rain stopped play.
Hales' position was under threat coming into the match after he faced criticism for a string of inconsistent displays in England's series victory in South Africa, but the Nottinghamshire man was composed and measured despite England's top-order collapse.
"I've tweaked a couple of things particularly with how I play the off stump, I got caught out a couple of time in South Africa. It's still a work in progress," he said.
"I took a couple of weeks off at the start of the year to recharge myself. It's done me the world of good. I've come a long way in the last six months hopefully that can continue."
Hales, who passed his previous Test-best score of 60, is now just 29 runs shy of a maiden century in cricket's longest format.
"I guess I'll have a restless night, yes. I'll come back tomorrow and put no extra pressure on myself, and just try and enjoy the challenge."
Bairstow brilliantly constructed his innings from just 67 balls and Hales paid tribute to his team-mate.
"He's been brilliant hasn't he?" Hales said. "He comes out naturally with a 70 or 80 strike rate and to do it the way he did, to make it look like nothing, shows he's come on a great deal.
"He looks the real deal. He just looks a lot more confident."