Alex Hales says he is not sure if he is a proven County Championship opener despite another impressive innings for Nottinghamshire.

He hit 96 on day two of the Division One clash against Middlesex at Trent Bridge to take his average for the season to 46.87.

But after struggling badly in red ball cricket last year, he says there is still work to do.

"At the moment I'm not sure (if I'm a Championship opener). It's the only spot available,” he said.

“The middle order is very strong at this club.

"It's where I've learned my trade so it's not unfamiliar.

"It was a very long season for me last year. The end came at a good time and I've had time to think about everything to do with red ball cricket – my technique and where my mind was at.

"I feel refreshed and ready to go this year. 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. I would like a hundred here though. 

"It's happened a few times getting out in the 90s in First Class games. 

"It's obviously disappointing and next time I get to that spot I'll hopefully get over the line but I'm happy with the way I'm playing." 

Notts closed on 258 for four, still 247 behind Middlesex's 505. Their first task today will be avoiding the follow-on of 356 and Hales is confident that will happen with Samit Patel (75 not out) and Riki Wessels (26 not out) having put on 94 for the fifth wicket. 

"It's a good wicket but I think if the bowlers put the ball in the right areas there is a little bit happening," he said.

"Middlesex have played nicely but we've shown that wickets can fall cheaply. The two guys that are in at the moment will have to reapply themselves.

"The lower order will have to wag as they have done for a while.

"We are confident we can push on. Ready (Chris Read), Riki, Samit, (Peter) Siddle are all averaging 40. If we get past that follow on that anything can happen."

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