Bell hits ton in England warm-up
5:39am Wednesday 27th February 2013 in © Press Association 2014
Ian Bell made good on his promise to start as he means to go on in New Zealand with an unbeaten hundred on day one of England's only warm-up match before the Test series.
The tourists made their intention clear to persevere with Nick Compton as Alastair Cook's Test opening partner, by deploying him rather than Joe Root in that position at the Queenstown Events Centre ground, but it was Bell (127no) who underpinned a total of 357 for seven.
Cook (60), Matt Prior and Root - in the number six spot, where he made a half-century on Test debut in December - also all made significant contributions.
Bell had made a point on Monday of stressing the importance of this match as England seek to add victory in a three-match series, starting in Dunedin next week, to their one-day international and Twenty20 triumphs here already.
On Tuesday it was his bat doing the talking with a chanceless 182-ball century which provided the permanence otherwise lacking, after England were put in on a pitch of decent pace but with a little help available to the seamers too.
Compton (21) came through 12 testing overs against the new ball but got no further before becoming the first of four wickets for first-change Jimmy Neesham - departing five runs short of a sixth 50 stand in 10 attempts with Cook since they began their partnership in India three-and-a-half months ago.