England ease woes with easy win

England Cricket Crest

England finally got off the mark in a World Cup campaign that had so far yielded only misery with a comfortable victory over Scotland.

Asked to bat, they made 303 for eight off the back of a typically-elegant Moeen Ali century. There were even runs for beleaguered skipper Eoin Morgan, who made 46. Steven Finn then atoned for his shocking showing against New Zealand by taking three for 26 as Scotland were bowled out for 184 without threatening the target.

The stage had been set at the start of the day for a Scotland win to add to England's troubles as they won the toss under cloudy skies. However, the cloud soon burned off and Moeen overcame a couple of early scares to compile the second century of his career.

Scotland's bowlers didn't really make the most of the new ball, with Josh Davey struggling to control the swing in his first over. Ian Bell was the batsman most troubled. He would struggle to time the ball throughout his innings and survived a close LBW shout early before giving a tough caught and bowled chance which the bowler failed to gather.

Moeen at the other end soon started to find his touch with a series of trademark drives and lofted drives before beginning to latch onto anything short on offer. He easily outpaced Bell and reached 50 off 39 balls, with Bell crawling to his off 80 not too long before Moeen reached three figures.

Bell was finally caught for 54 off 85 balls. He may have looked out of form but his ability to hang in there had helped England make a superb start with an opening stand of 172 in 30 overs. With that in mind, they should have managed more than they did, but Scotland kept plugging away and taking wickets.

Moeen was soon out-foxed by Majid Haq's classical, flighted off-spin and holed out on 128. Davey then came back from a poor first spell to take four wickets as only Morgan, with 46 off 42 balls, prospered for any length of time thereafter.

Scotland were never likely to seriously challenge the total and didn't. James Anderson sent back the talented Calum MacLeod in his second over, with Freddie Coleman and Matt Machan then following to Chris Woakes and Finn to make it 54 for three.

A partnership of 60 between Kyle Coetzer and Preston Mommsen restored some respectability, but both men fell in quick succession; Coetzer for an impressive 71 off 84 balls. Finn dismissed Matthew Cross and Davey to get reward for a good spell, while Moeen backed up his earlier century with two for 47 to earn the man of the match award.

It hadn't been a perfect performance from England: they had failed to fully capitalise on a excellent start and fell 50 runs short of what they ought to have made, but they will just be relieved to get away with a big win. Scotland, meanwhile, were solid without being particularly spectacular and will now eye the match against Afghanistan as their best chance of a win in this tournament.