England v West Indies, 3rd ODI, Bristol September 24, 2017

'I just had a slog and everything came off' - Moeen

Moeen Ali played down his record-breaking 53-ball hundred as a "bit of a slog", but said that the confidence he has gleaned in the course of a phenomenal summer in international cricket allowed him to trust his instincts and put West Indies' bowlers to the sword in a run-laden third ODI at Bristol.

After easing into his day's work with a run-a-ball 39, Moeen let rip in the final six overs of England's innings, crashing eight sixes and two fours in 14 deliveries, to rampage to his third ODI hundred and the fastest ever made on English soil.

The performance capped a summer of rare all-round brilliance from Moeen in all formats, not least during the 3-1 Test series win over South Africa in July and August, when he became the first player in history to score 250 runs and take 25 wickets in a four-Test series.

"It's been good for my confidence," Moeen said. "I know there will be tough times ahead, and I try not to get too over-confident, but I've played quite a bit for England now and the experience has allowed me stay focussed on what's to come.

"Playing in the side regularly, training with international players and playing against international players, has helped my game so much, I feel my batting and bowling is improving all the time."

As to the secrets of his phenomenal success at Bristol, Moeen said that a focus on laying the groundwork in his innings had set him up for the fireworks to come, plus a commitment to "keep his shape" in his strokes, irrespective of the adrenalin that was beginning to pump ever harder with every new blow.

After a 132-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Joe Root and Ben Stokes, England had been in some strife at 217 for 6 in the 35th over when Moeen began his innings-turning stand of 117 with Chris Woakes.

"I felt Rooty and Stokesy did a fantastic job for us," he said. "I thought we were in a bit of trouble, then we lost those three wickets and we both had to rebuild a bit. But I felt like we got to a situation around 42 overs when we were in a decent position and it was time to press the button, but in the end [Woakes] was giving me one every ball because I felt like I was in the zone and everything was coming off."

While Moeen has long had a reputation as one of the most eye-catching ball-strikers in England's team, even he had never really considered himself a six-hitter in the mould of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.

"As a kid [sixes] were a regular thing, but only playing first-class and international cricket, I never saw myself as that sort of player," he said. "But the ground wasn't the biggest and I felt like they bowled a little bit in the slot. I just had a slog really, everything seemed to come off, I tried to watch the ball, keep my shape and really go for it."

Jason Holder, West Indies' captain, was left to rue another performance in which a game had got away from them despite an often spirited display, not least from Miguel Cummins, who might not feel like celebrating his career-best figures of 3 for 82 after bearing the brunt of Moeen's attack.

"I felt we got off to a decent start," he said. "We got wickets with the new ball, which we pride ourselves on. Things started to leak a little bit then we pulled it back with a couple of wickets. I thought Miguel was outstanding in the middle overs coming back and getting those two prize wickets. We just didn't finish off well.

"They bat deep. [Moeen] has played a special innings today. I think we didn't execute our plans towards him and he was able to capitalise on the dimensions of the ground.

"It's a small ground and he backed himself to clear it. We didn't field well, we were a just bit sloppy, a couple of misfields and dropped chances."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket

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