BEN Foakes posted a message to the national selectors that he is intent on keeping his England place.

The wicketkeeper cracked an unbeaten 132 in Surrey’s opening LV County Championship outing of the new season, against defending champions Warwickshire at Edgbaston, which turned into a high-scoring draw.

Foakes is acknowledged as the best gloveman in the country – possibly the world – but has had to wait patiently for a sustained run in the Test side. That came in the West Indies but England lost 1-0 and Foakes averaged just under 20 with the bat, not helped by unselfishly sacrificing his wicket in run chases on two occasions and then running himself out in the meltdown at Grenada.

His keeping maintained its usual high standards and Foakes has the opportunity in the opening weeks of the new season to show the effectiveness of his batting to whoever will be picking the England team, which is unlikely to be known for some time yet.

His innings was the centrepiece of Surrey’s 428-8dec, which occupied most of the first two days of the match given the first was cut in half by rain and bad light. Having chosen to bat first, they were given an excellent platform by an opening stand of 117 between skipper Rory Burns (41) and Ryan Patel, who’s rapid 75 built on excellent pre-season form and suggested he is ready to maintain advances made last year.

Ollie Pope – like Burns with much to prove following his disappointing Ashes series – cracked a confident 58 and Jordan Clark weighed in with 50 lower down the order.

When Warwickshire slid to 16-3 early on day three, Surrey hoped they could launch their campaign with a victory, all the more welcome given they have only won five four-day matches in three seasons.

But they were held up initially by a fifth wicket alliance worth 157 between Sam Hain (78) and Matthew Lamb (106). And as the pitch became ever more docile, wicketkeeper Michael Burgess took advantage to hit a career-best 178, aided by Dan Mousley (43), Craig Miles (32), Henry Brookes (29) and last man Oliver Hannon-Dalby, whose 11no contributed to a 10th wicket partnership worth 122 in a final total of 531.

From the likelihood of a first innings lead, Surrey conceded a deficit of 103, their new ball pair Kemar Roach and Reece Topley each claiming three wickets apiece but both having to bowl more than 30 overs. Having chosen to go into the match without a specialist spinner, the visitors had to rely on Will Jacks (1-93).

In the short time left to the end of the match, Burns (22no) and Patel (16no) gave their colleagues time to pack without alarms. Both sides took 13 points.

Surrey’s interim head coach Gareth Batty set an upbeat note at the end, commenting: “In pre-season we saw the hard work the boys put into winter nets was transferring outside. We just need to keep building that performance because there were some very good things in it.”

Hampshire – who thrashed Somerset by an innings – are Surrey’s opponents at the Kia Oval from Thursday (April 14).