BEN Foakes says hitting a career-best score has put him in a confident mood of retaining his place in the Essex starting line-up heading into the summer.
The stand-by wicketkeeper smashed 132 not out off 157 deliveries in another rain washed encounter at Gloucestershire on Tuesday.
Foakes made the career-best score on day three to put Essex in a commanding position, with a lead of 171 at Bristol.
However, Gloucestershire rallied on day four with Will Tavare and Alex Gidman hitting centuries to ensure the match was drawn.
“To get my career-best score was obviously really pleasing,” said Foakes.
“I felt this was my best innings so far and I felt really fluent. I’ve been working on a few things during the winter and they seem to be paying off.
“The key for me when I’m in the middle is to stay relaxed, back myself, and treat every ball on its merits and try not to complicate things.
“It’s obviously good to get a big score early on in the season and hopefully that will give me the confidence to continue in good form throughout the summer and maintain my place in the side.”
Foakes’ sixth wicket partnership with James Foster was worth 218 runs for Essex in the County Championship Division Two clash and came after much of the opening two days were blighted by bad weather.
“Fozzy (Foster) and I got a good partnership going to put us in a good position,” said Foakes.
“Even though we were 71 for five when we began our partnership, I thought the wicket was good to be honest and it got easier as the ball got older.
“With all the rain we’ve had, we knew that we’d have to push on with the runs which we did in that last session of play. To be honest, that was the way that Fozzy and I like to play anyway and I really enjoy batting with him. He is always so calm and it quickly puts me in the right mindset.
“Obviously, I’m not going to take the gloves away from Fozzy in the foreseeable future so it’s vitally important for me to keep scoring runs consistently if I’m to keep my place in the side as a batsman.”
Foakes’ Essex will take on Leicestershire on Sunday at the County Ground and he will be looking to pick up where he left off against them last year, where he hit 93 at Grace Road.