Alex Hales can use home comforts of Trent Bridge to make late Ashes case

first_img Jonny Bairstow century guides England to routine ODI win over West Indies Share on WhatsApp Read more news Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn West Indies cricket team Share on Pinterest … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Nevertheless, after brushing aside their opponents at Old Trafford to go 1-0 up in this autumnal one-day series, Eoin Morgan’s side will still pitch up for the second instalment at Trent Bridge on Thursday confident of doubling the lead. That their last one-day match here, against Pakistan in 2016, produced a world-record total of 444 for three helps, too.As was the case on that balmy – and frankly barmy – day 13 months ago, the Nottinghamshire groundstaff appear to have produced another bowler‑unfriendly pitch; one that is flat, white and, like county matches this season, could see the scoreboard ticking over at a rapid pace.There is, however, a fair bit of rain forecast in the East Midlands and with this West Indies could yet spring a surprise that, while not as jaw-dropping as the Test team’s feats at Headingley last month, would still defy their ninth place in the one-day rankings and a horror run of 12 defeats from their past 15 completed matches.Most of the Twenty20 specialists who won at Durham on Saturday have departed but a shortened game (far shorter than the 42-over affair on Monday) would still be to the taste of their power-hitting openers, Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis, and also lessen the drag that comes from a middle order that tends to get bogged down mid-innings.England’s batting is clearly much stronger, not least on benign surfaces, and it helps too that the one new piece in an otherwise settled jigsaw, Jonny Bairstow, made a significant statement on Monday with an unbeaten 100 after being preferred to Jason Roy.Along with his typically powerful strokeplay, the Yorkshireman’s wing-heeled running between the wickets was a highlight among this maiden century, while his out-fielding, as shown in the leaping catch to remove Shai Hope on the boundary, is a further enhancement to the team. If this elongated summer of international cricket has taught us anything, it is that a scarcely contested England win against the touring West Indians does not necessarily guarantee success in the match that follows. Cricket Reuse this contentcenter_img England cricket team Share on Twitter Support The Guardian England v West Indies 2017 Share on Messenger Read more Alex Hales and England rewrite record books in thumping win over Pakistan Since you’re here… Share via Email For Bairstow’s opening partner, Alex Hales, Nottingham is a return to home comforts, having looked in fine fettle during both the Twenty20 at Chester-le-Street and at Old Trafford, only to give his wicket away during the latter when slashing to point on 19.County attacks this summer will attest to his prowess at Trent Bridge – during the NatWest T20 Blast campaign a huge chunk of his 504 runs, at an eye-watering strike-rate of 204, were plundered there – while he was the catalyst for England’s scaling of Everest against Pakistan last year with his England record 171 from 122 balls.Could a similar glut of runs in this one-day series tip the balance when it comes to the selection of England’s Ashes squad? Whether it should is debatable, but certainly for both Hales and Jos Buttler this feels a pivotal moment in cricketing careers that could well head into the gilded cage of white-ball specialism if the Test call does not come now.Hales, on the back of that NatWest T20 Blast campaign and his record 187 not out in the Royal London Cup final, is currently bound for a spell with the Stellenbosch Kings in South Africa’s new Global League this November, where he will work under their highly-regarded head coach and former New Zealand captain, Stephen Fleming.Impress there and Fleming could yet take him on to the Indian Premier League where he coaches Chennai Super Kings, and thus like Buttler, who plays for Mumbai Indians, Hales would miss the start of next season’s County Championship and find a second Test chance in his new middle-order spot hard to manufacture amid a cluttered schedule.For Adil Rashid, the leg-spinner, white-ball specialism seems to have been forced upon him somewhat, having missing out on a Test place following a 30-wicket winter in a way that suggests a view has been taken by the selectors and management.Rashid remains a key component in Morgan’s one-day attack, such that his two for 31 at Old Trafford took him to 72 victims from 50 games – equal to Graeme Swann at the same stage of his one-day career. If West Indies look to take on the Yorkshireman’s variations at Trent Bridge, he will once again be in the game. Topicslast_img

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