Hales - England in good shape
Defending champions gear up for World T20 by beating Australia
Last Updated: 17/09/12 10:46am
Alex Hales: England opener top scored with 52 against Australia
England will continue preparations for their ICC World Twenty20 defence with their confidence intact after holding their nerve for a nine-run warm-up win over Australia.
Stuart Broad's team left Nondescripts CC in Colombo with the morale boost of a fifth successive win this year over their oldest enemies, and the team they also beat to clinch their T20 title in Barbados two years ago.
It was Broad himself who made perhaps the most critical contribution, his only wicket accounting for Michael Hussey (71) - who had made an Australia victory likely with a barrage of big-hitting off England's young spinner Danny Briggs.
The left-hander went lbw to the England captain, and Australia fell short of 172-6 - a total underpinned by Alex Hales' half-century at the top of the order.
"We're feeling pretty confident heading into this tournament."
Alex Hales Quotes of the week
Hales reflected with some satisfaction on his and England's performance, and the victory which was their reward.
"It's a great way to start the warm-up to this tournament, and we also had that good win against South Africa too [in Birmingham last week]," said the Nottinghamshire opener.
"So we're feeling pretty confident heading into this tournament.
"It adds to the confidence in the changing room, which is already pretty good."
Hales' own 38-ball 52 was one of a clutch of useful performances, the others from Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright with the bat and Steven Finn and Graeme Swann with the ball.
"It's nice to get some runs under your belt in the first warm-up game," he said.
"It was a good team performance, and Wrighty and Morgs also played their part.
"It is a very different challenge to what we're used to in England. But I think the deck was a lot better than everyone expected.
"It came on to the bat nicely, but I think 170 was a pretty good score out there."