Hales admits he is work in progress in Tests

Alex Hales says he is still a "work in progress" in Test cricket after helping England recover from 83 for 5 on Day One of the series opener against Sri Lanka at Headingley.

Opener Alex Hales scored a fighting half-century to rescue England with an unbeaten partnership of 88 with Jonny Bairstow.

Alex Hales says he is still a "work in progress" in Test cricket after helping England recover from 83 for 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 (54 not out) put on 88 for the sixth wicket to leave England 171 for 5 before rain stopped play.

> Report: Hales, Bairstow keep SL at bay

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 teammate. "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."

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