ALEX Hales gave the England selectors another substantial nudge in the ribs this week with scores of 96 and 94 to win the game for Nottinghamshire against Middlesex.
Hales came to the middle in the LV County Championship match after Middlesex had made 505 in their first innings.
But his dominant innings of 96 from 110 balls was the backbone of Notts’ 393 all out reply.
Middlesex then declared their second innings on 271-9, setting Notts 383 in 86 overs to win the match.
Not since 1926 has Notts chased down a higher score at Trent Bridge, but former Amersham and Gerrards Cross batsman Hales had a point to prove and another score in the 90s set his side on the road to an incredible victory.
Hales, who also made 167 against Sussex this month, was particularly dismissive of England bowler Steve Finn, smashing his 30 off 23 balls.
Notts are now top of the table, but Hales himself is still struggling to shake off a reputation for being a Twenty20 specialist in the eyes of the England selectors.
He said: “I felt like I had a point to prove in red-ball cricket after last year.
“It was a very long season for me and the end of it came at a nice time.
“I have had time to think about everything to do with red-ball cricket, my technique and where my mind was at and I feel refreshed and ready to go this year.
“I’ve worked on trying to play the ball a lot straighter and later. I’ve tried to take that into my game and it’s worked so far. The ball is coming on nicely.
“Being a tall guy sometimes I get a bit slack in my footwork so I’ve been working on that in the nets.
“It’s been a strange season for me starting off in the middle order, clearing off to Worcester (on loan) and now being back here at the top.
“I feel like I'm striking the ball nicely.”
Hales, who was ranked the top T20 batsman in the world after his record knock of 116 not out in 64 balls against Sri Lanka in the World Cup, will join Hobart Hurricanes for the Big Bash.