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EX-YC Hales hits 99 for England

Former MCC Young Cricketer Alex Hales came agonisingly close to being the first England player to make a T20I ton as he helped them to victory over the West Indies.

Hales, 23, was dismissed in the final over to deny him the chance of a first international century.

However, his performance as England chased 173 to win the one off match at Trent Bridge will have cemented his place at the top of the order, with the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka looming this Autumn.

England, defending champions, are now without Kevin Pietersen in the T20 format after he retired from both one day formats earlier this month.

Pietersen was player of the tournament as England won in the Caribbean in 2010, playing as an opener.

Hales' second half century in five matches - both against the WIndies - will ease captain Stuart Broad's worries over losing his prize batting asset though.

Ravi Bopara also impressed for the hosts, scoring 59 from 44 balls, after half centuries from the Dwayne's - Smith and Bravo - had helped the West Indies, captained by another former YC in Darren Sammy, set a competitive total.

Hales, originally from Hertfordshire, spent a summer as a YC in 2007 before joining Nottinghamshire, where he has performances in all formats put him firmly in the England frame.

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