NOTTINGHAM: Alex Hales does not expect to be an England record-holder for long after his 171 helped the team post a new world one-day international mark of 444 for three en route to thrashing Pakistan on Tuesday.
Hales´s innings at his home ground of Trent Bridge was the highest score by any England batsman in this format and helped the hosts to a 169-run win that ensured they won the series at 3-0 up with two to play.
But Hales believes it´s just a matter of time before an England colleague betters his score.
“I think the improvements we´ve shown in the last couple of years, I´m not sure how long that record will stand,” he said.
“The batting we´ve got all the way down to pretty much number 11 so it´s an exciting time for us as a team.”
Jos Buttler made a dashing 90 not out, that included England´s fastest ODI 50 — off just 22 balls.
Partnerships of 248 between Hales and Joe Root (85) and an unbroken 161 shared by Buttler and England captain Eoin Morgan (57 not out) overwhelmed Pakistan´s bowlers in a total featuring 16 sixes.
This was a timely innings for Hales, who had managed just 145 runs at an average of 18.12 during England´s preceding 2-2 Test series with Pakistan.
That was followed by meagre scores of seven and 14 in the first two ODIs at Southampton and Lord´s respectively.
But back in front of his Nottinghamshire home crowd, the opener looked a far more confident and authoritative batsman as Robin Smith´s 167 not out against Australia at Edgbaston back in 1993 finally ceased to be England´s highest individual ODI score.
“It´s been a tough few weeks personally,” he said.
“The Test series didn´t go to plan — but when it comes to the white ball in the last 12 months, I´ve felt in good form.
“I was always confident heading into this series, and it´s nice to put it right tonight.”
Jason Roy, Hales´s opening partner had gone close to breaking Smith´s record with 162 against Sri Lanka at The Oval — his home ground — in June.
“I knew I was I closing in,” said Hales.
“When I heard the cheer going round the ground I knew something was happening, but at the time I was unaware,” he added of the moment he broke Smith´s longstanding record.
“It´s a special feeling.”
‘444 is a bit too much’
This victory was further evidence of the progress England have made in 50-over cricket since their dismal first-round exit at last year´s World Cup.
And Hales believes there is better to come from the 2019 World Cup hosts.
“It´s exciting for us as I don´t think we´ve reached our full potential yet. We´re still learning with the bat and ball and still improving in the field so hopefully there´s a lot more to come in the next two years,” Hales said.
A delighted Morgan added: “To score 171 in any from of the game — particularly a 50-over game — is remarkable.
“International cricket´s about how you go through the tough times and how you manage them — certainly today he (Hales) has come back really well from them.”
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali praised Hales and Buttler but accepted his own side´s fielding had been well below the required standard.
“It was an exceptional innings from Alex Hales and Jos Buttler,” he said. “But I think 444 is a bit too much.
“I think we missed some key chances — especially that (Wahab Riaz) no-ball when we would have got rid of Alex Hales on about 70.
“We didn´t start well, and there´s no excuse for that. Those fielding lapses straightaway didn´t send a good message.”