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.”