CHRISTCHURCH: England opener Moeen Ali produced a stream of delightful drives to reach his second one day international century in the cricket World Cup Pool A match against Scotland at Hagley Oval on Monday.
After England had lost their opening matches to hosts Australia and New Zealand, Ali (128) and opening partner Ian Bell (54) relished a bland pitch and unthreatening bowling to post an opening stand of 172.
Captain Eoin Morgan struck the ball firmly after a dismal run of form to reach 46 in an England total of 303 for eight.
Left-hander Ali was in fine form from the outset, driving the ball fluently through the offside and punishing any short-pitched deliveries with some booming pulls.
He reached his century from 91 deliveries with his fourth six of the innings, lofting off-spinner Majid Haq high over mid-wicket.
Bell, who had been content to rotate the strike to give Ali the bowling, fell in the following over for 54 when he pushed a simple catch to Kyle Coetzer at cover from the bowling of Richie Berrington.
Ali pulled a fifth six into the crowd but then lofted Haq to long-on where Freddie Coleman held a simple catch.
Gary Ballance, who has also been struggling for form, made only 10 before he chopped a delivery from Alasdair Evans on to his stumps and Joe Root (1) edged Josh Davey to wicketkeeper Matt Cross.
Root was the third wicket to fall in consecutive overs, including two in the powerplay.
Morgan began to clump the ball effectively with a six and a four in consecutive balls from Iain Wardlaw before losing James Taylor stumped for 17 by Cross off Davey.
Josh Buttler, dropped on 11 when Wardlaw failed to hang on to a return catch, reached 24 before hoisting Wardlaw to Davey at long-off.
Morgan and Chris Woakes (1) were both caught by Scotland captain Preston Mommsen off consecutive balls from Davey, who finished with four for 68.