Ian Bell's century helps England get tour match off to an impressive start
Last Updated: 28/02/13 7:20am
Ian Bell smashed a century as England got their preparations for the Test series against New Zealand off to an impressive start in Queenstown.
Bell finished day one of the warm-up match against a New Zealand XI on 127 not out to leave England well-placed on 357-7.
Captain Alastair Cook, Joe Root and Matt Prior also got amongst the runs ahead of the three-Test series, which starts in Dunedin next week.
Cook and Nick Compton, preferred to Root at the top of the order, had got England off to a decent start as they put on 45.
However Compton (21) was the first of Jimmy Neesham's four victims when he edged behind to BJ Watling.
Jonathan Trott (1) departed in similar fashion while Kevin Pietersen managed just 14 before he too fell to Neesham - Hamish Rutherford taking a good catch at first slip.
Cook and Bell steadied the ship with a useful 43-run stand before the skipper's 93-ball knock of 60 was ended by Neil Wagner.
Bell, though, was looking increasingly calm at the crease, while Root showed incredible patience to get himself set - taking 27 balls to reach four.
However once set Root was able to open up and ended up scoring 49 of the 97-run partnership.
Root, though, fell agonisingly short of a half-century when he played up the wrong line and lost his off-stump to part-time medium-pacer Carl Cachopa.
That brought Prior to the crease and he blazed a quickfire 41 before he was removed by Neesham (4-65).
Chris Woakes added 16 before he was the final wicket of the day to fall, with Wagner (2-65) striking late.
Bell, though, remained unmoved with his century coming off 182 balls and giving the hosts no chances.