MOEEN Ali struck a fine century to frustrate Division Two promotion hopefuls Lancashire in the LV= County Championship match at New Road.

Worcestershire’s in-form left-hander hit 104 to help lift his side to 287 all out off 92.1 overs following a spirited fightback by the league leaders, who were boosted by a four-wicket haul by paceman Kyle Hogg.

At the end of the opening day Lancashire’s opening pair of Glen Chapple and Luis Reece safely negotiated a maiden over from Alan Richardson before proceedings were brought to a close.

Moeen’s eye-catching innings followed his brilliant 114 earlier in the week in a Yorkshire Bank 40 Group ‘A’ match against Warwickshire.

He also made an impression last week by scoring 61 for England Lions in a two-day game against the Australians at Northampton.

Lancashire also found the 26-year-old difficult to dislodge in their opening Championship match of the campaign when he made 78 in a rain-hit draw against Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford.

Moeen, whose knock hoisted him well past the 1,000-run mark in the Championship this summer, reached three figures off 194 balls with 13 fours. It was the 11th first-class century of his career and his third this term.

Worcestershire made 38 in 13 overs before their opening pair were split up by seamer Tom Smith’s third delivery which accounted for Daryl Mitchell, whose outside edge was snapped up in the slips by Andrea Agathangelou. The skipper’s dismissal for 22, following a string of impressive limited-overs scores, signalled the start of a half-century partnership between his fellow opener Matt Pardoe and Moeen.

They put on 54 before the penultimate delivery before lunch, bowled by left-arm medium-pacer Reece, had Pardoe caught behind for 35 by Gareth Cross to leave the hosts 92-2 off 30 overs at the break Thilan Samaraweera struggled to get into his stride and suffered a soft dismissal when, after leaving alone a Hogg delivery, ambled out of his ground to allow the alert Cross to stump him for six off 32 balls.

His careless departure failed to unsettle Moeen who instantly found a reliable partner in teenager Tom Fell. They joined forces to complete a half-century stand before the taking their side to 196-3 off 64 overs at tea.

They went on to add 91 in 29 overs before another slice of carelessness resulted in Fell being removed for 43 when he turned Arron Lilley to square leg and wandered out of his ground to enable Reece to run him out with a smart throw in to Cross.

Next ball Ross Whiteley was bowled by Lilley before the visitors ousted Joe Leach.

Moeen finally fell during the first over with the new ball when he nicked Hogg to Cross.

Jack Shantry and Ben Cox both fell cheaply as Worcestershire lost six wickets for 37 before Richardson (21) and Graeme Cessford (13 not out) had an entertaining last-wicket stand of 35.