Ben Foakes is determined to cement a place in this winter’s Ashes squad after scoring his first Surrey century of the season against Yorkshire.
The wicketkeeper-batsman had passed fifty four times for the county in first-class cricket and ten in all forms this season without making three figures, but rectified that on this second morning, a session that saw his side pummel Yorkshire into the ground.
And with Jos Buttler, England’s white-ball wicketkeeper, averaging just 17.16 in red-ball cricket this summer, Foakes has his sights set on a tour Down Under.
“That’s my goal,” he admitted at the close of play. “[I want] to get the back-up spot on that tour and I’m just trying to score as many runs as possible to give myself the best chance, so it’s hard not to think about it.
“The last few games I’ve really been quite determined to get as many runs as possible so I’m just happy that I’ve been able to so far.”
Foakes reached 110 in typical fashion, driving straight down the ground majestically and looking stylish as he stroked the ball to all parts. That James Whitaker, England’s Chairman of Selectors, was in attendance will do him no harm at all.
Assisted in a partnership of 258 with Kumar Sangakkara, he did plenty to try and ensure his side only have to bat once – a total of 592 all out makes that eventuality somewhat likely.
“As always he’s a different class,” said Foakes of Sangakkara. “No one can believe the shots he comes out with, when he picks a gap when there’s two fielders and he splits them.
“To be out there as many times as I can with him until he retires is pretty awesome.”
The 24-year-old is grateful for the wisdom of his Sri Lankan teammate, whose experience has rubbed off on him. “I think the main thing [I’ve learnt] is that your innings goes up and down.
“I think originally when I started to play I’d get in and think I had to be at one pace, and the way he speaks about going up and down the gears in different situations, that’s something I’ve probably learnt the most.”
This was apparent when Sangakkara raced from his century to 150 in 53 balls, with Foakes more than happy to watch him do it from the non-strikers’ end.
“There was a stage out there where I was really struggling, and maybe in the past without his experience I would have played a shot I shouldn’t have and got out.
“But having learnt that you will have stages in the innings where you’re struggling, just get through it, and later you’ll cash in, has been very helpful.”