MOEEN Ali scored his first century of the season as promotion-chasing Worcestershire dominated the opening day of the LV = County Championship clash with Surrey at the Kia Oval.
Ali had scored 99 in his previous championship innings against Derbyshire at New Road on April 29 and has had to wait five weeks for another knock in red ball cricket after his England call-ups for the T20 games with Scotland and Sri Lanka.
He reached three figures off 179 balls with three sixes and nine fours as Worcestershire closed on 329-4 from 96 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat.
It was perfect timing for Ali with the England selectors due to shortly name the squad for the opening Test against Sri Lanka.
He finished unbeaten on 138 from 241 balls with four sixes and 10 fours.
Ali started off in ultra aggressive mood with 35 off 43 balls before lunch including three sixes and ended the day in similar fashion with a six over long on off Zafar Ansari in the final over.
But in between, as Surrey bowled a tighter line after the opening session, Ali was content to get his head down and play a lengthy innings.
Skipper Daryl Mitchell, Matt Pardoe and Tom Fell also made sizeable contributions for the visitors.
Openers Mitchell and Pardoe were confronted with a short boundary with the wicket situated towards the gasometer side of the ground and adapted an aggressive approach in giving Worcestershire another fine foundation.
Pardoe top edged Jade Dernbach for six over third man and there were a few false strokes as the ball seamed and swung but the Worcestershire pair flourished and Pardoe reached his first 50 of the campaign.
It was well deserved after Pardoe had not had the rub of the green with a couple of recent dismissals.
He was bowled by former Worcestershire spinner Gareth Batty for 52 after aiming a shot over mid wicket with the total on 88 in the 21st over.
Mitchell continued his excellent start to the season and survived one dropped chance, by ex county colleague Vikram Solanki, before being bowled shouldering arms for 62 to Tim Tremlett with a delivery which jagged back sharply.
His partnership with Ali was worth 87 in 27 overs.