Moeen Ali scored his maiden One-Day International hundred for England against Sri Lanka in Colombo and then said: "Hopefully it is the first of many."

The Worcestershire all-rounder reached three figures off just 72 balls – the third quickest ODI century by an England player after Jos Buttler and Kevin Pietersen.

He admits he is relishing opening for his country – a role he has adapted for Worcestershire for several seasons in white ball cricket – and is determined to maintain an aggressive approach in the role.

It was the first time he has gone in first for England since making 44, 10 and 55 at the start of his England career in three ODIs against the West Indies in Antigua.

Moeen has now scored 228 runs in four knocks at an average of 57 opening for England with a strike rate of 103.

The only downside for Moeen was that, just like after he scored his debut Test century against Sri Lanka at Headingley last summer, the game ended with England being beaten, this time by 25 runs.

Moeen's efforts kept England up with the run-rate in pursuit of a 318 target but they lost wickets at regular intervals and were eventually dismissed for 292 in 47.1 overs.

The 27-year-old, who scored a half century in the warm-up against Sri Lanka 'A' off just 21 balls, said: "I feel good, very happy opening the batting. It is something I have been doing for a while now.

"I feel everyone is backing me, the coaches and the captain, so I feel I can go out there and express myself.

"Even when I play for Worcestershire, I just go out and play my shots. I enjoy playing shots and I feel I can play even better but that was nice.

"I just play on instinct really. I go out and enjoy batting. I like to try and take the bowlers down. I need to keep positive and play my shots.

"My personal plan was to keep going and stay ahead of the rate even though we were losing wickets and not get scared and change my tempo.

"I don't think a lot of people have seen me play in that fashion opening so hopefully it is the first of many (hundreds).

"I'm very disappointed we lost the game. We lost too many wickets in the middle. Getting a 100 is nice but again it's in a losing cause."

Moeen is taking nothing for granted despite his fine start to the winter in the build-up to the World Cup.

He said: "I take it one day at a time. Things can change so quick."

Buttler holds the record for the fastest 0DI century by an England batsman, also against Sri Lanka earlier this year, off 61 balls with Pietersen second on the list with his hundred off 69 deliveries against South Africa in 2005.