Hales: Maiden Test century is around the corner

Alex Hales feels he is closing in on his maiden Test century after falling short again as he helped England reach a strong position against Sri Lanka.

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Alex Hales feels he is closing in on his maiden Test century after falling short again as he helped England reach a strong position against Sri Lanka.

Hales posted 83 runs as England reached 310-6 at stumps on day one of the second Test at Chester-le-Street on Friday.

After scored a career-high 86 in England's convincing victory last week, Hales produced another inspired knock to lead the tourists.

Hales tallied nine boundaries and one six before his day was cut short by Milinda Siriwardana and the 27-year-old, who was frustrated to fall short in the eighties yet again, believes England should be targeting a total of 450.

"I think [a century is around the corner]," he told Sky Sports. "I feel in good touch. I learnt a lot from South Africa and worked hard in the month leading up to this Test series on a few things and feel confident heading into the second innings and the rest of the summer.

"I think we've probably just had the better of day one. There's been a bit of up and down bounce which is a good sign for us winning the toss and batting.

"I think the first hour tomorrow morning is important - if we can get a couple of good partnerships that can get us up to 450 which is a good score.

"I think the pitch is better than at Headingley - you can score off the front and back foot. There was a bit of cloud and nibble around early on so once you got past that runs came a bit easier than they did last week. I feel in good touch. It's only the start of the summer.

"It was annoying to get out in the eighties. I'd done all the hard work again and probably tried to hit that ball a bit too hard but fair play to Angelo [Mathews] - it was a great catch.

"Anytime you get out you're sat there thinking 'Should I have done this, should I have done that?' I guess it's one of those where my eyes lit up at a back of a length ball and I tried to hit it too hard.

"I think 450 is going to be a really good score. You've got Woakesy [Chris Woakes] in the form of his life fresh off a hundred for Warwickshire and Mo [Moeen Ali] looks in good touch as well so I think the first hour is crucial, if we can get through that without losing any scalps we can hopefully push on to that 450."

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