Ian Bell blasted 187 runs off 145 balls © Getty Images (File Photo)

Opener Ian Bell plundered 187 off 145 balls and Stuart Broad captured four wickets as England crushed the Prime Minister’s XI by 60 runs in Canberra on Wednesday.

Bell starred in England’s imposing 391 for six to set the PM XI a run chase of almost eight runs an over at Manuka Oval. Bell was out on the penultimate ball of the innings, caught by Australian Test batsman and PM XI skipper Chris Rogers off paceman Jason Behrendorff as England made full use of winning the toss.

England then bowled out the home side for 331 off 48.1 overs in an encouraging hit out ahead of Friday’s opening tri-series one-day international against Australia in Sydney.  Paceman Broad snaffled four for 40 off 8.1 overs, including two wickets in two balls and was denied a hat-trick late in the PM XI innings.

There were plenty of positives for England, working towards next month’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with opener Moeen Ali and number three James Taylor both contributing 71. Bell and Ali put on 113 for the first wicket before Bell combined with Taylor in a stand of 141 for the second. Bell hit 20 fours and three sixes in the highest score by a batsman for England in a 50-over match against an attack that included two of Australia’s World Cup squad members, Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell.

Fast bowler Cummins went wicketless for 52 off six overs, while spinner Maxwell captured one for 63 off nine overs.  West Australian left-arm paceman Behrendorff finished with four for 79 from 10 overs

But Maxwell gave his World Cup hopes a major boost with 136 from only 89 balls batting at No.3. Maxwell has been struggling in the Big Bash League and has been public about his fears the slump would have cost him a place in the World Cup squad.

He was the star attraction for the PM’s XI, belting 20 fours and six sixes. But he was forced to play a lone hand with 18-year-old Jake Doran the home side’s next top score on 37.