Moeen Ali to embrace 50th England Test

Author
NZN,
Section
Cricket,
Publish Date
Monday, 19 March 2018, 10:26AM
Moeen Ali will play his 50th test against the Black Caps starting on Thursday. (Photo \ Getty Images)
Moeen Ali will play his 50th test against the Black Caps starting on Thursday. (Photo \ Getty Images)

England allrounder Moeen Ali wants to "get back on that horse" when he raises his half-century of Tests against New Zealand this week.

Ali's 50th Test will come in the day-night Test at Eden Park starting on Thursday and is a milestone he never thought he'd reach.

Now that he's there, the 30-year-old wants to put his recent Test exploits in a forgettable Ashes series behind him.

Ali's right-arm spin made minimal impact in the 4-0 series loss in Australia over the summer, taking just five wickets at 115 runs each. He also scored just 179 runs from nine innings.

Bright showings in the subsequent one-day international series wins over Australia and New Zealand have been good for his self-belief.

"You've got to get back on that horse and try your best, and almost forget about the bad days if you can," he said.

"The Ashes were quite tough for me and the one-dayers came at a good time.

"I feel like my confidence is slowly getting back."

Ali believes he's not the only England player with a point to prove in the wake of their Ashes misery.

Ali should be half of a double-pronged England allrounder approach, with Ben Stokes poised to make his Test return after being suspended for the Ashes series.

However, Kiwi-born Stokes is in doubt with a back injury that forced him to play little part in four days of practice cricket against a New Zealand XI in Hamilton.

Ali hoped the diagnosis on Stokes this week was positive ahead of the first of two Tests.

"He's always great for the team - the balance is pretty much sorted when he's in the team. it's really great to have him back," he said.

"We've got a much stronger side when he's playing. It gives everyone else a good lift.

"I know he's ready to perform and give back to the team, which I'm sure he wants to do (after) what happened earlier."

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