ALASTAIR Cook stole the headlines with a blistering innings to help Essex to a 22-run win over Sri Lanka in Chelmsford on Tuesday.

But his young team-mate Ben Foakes also played a crucial knock himself, scoring 51 from just 31 deliveries in what turned into a 21-over per side match because of the weather.

With Sri Lanka the reigning World T20 champions, it was a prized scalp for the Essex side.

“When we saw the game reduced to 20 overs, we were a bit nervous, with them being World Champions,” said Foakes. “To get a win against any nation, especially one who is holding the World title at the moment, is brilliant.”

Sri Lanka won the toss and put Essex into bat but Cook with 71 and Foakes with 51 helped the Eagles to a total of 161-5 off 21 overs.

The tourists struggled with the bat with Foakes, keeping wicket as James Foster concentrated on his batting, able to watch wickets fall at regular intervals and taking two catches himself behind the stumps.

Oliver Newby shone with the ball, taking 3-36 from five overs as Sri Lanka finished well short on Essex’s total of 146-9.

Foakes said: “Olly Newby with the new ball was outstanding; he was swinging it late, bowling some brilliant balls – the one he bowled to Mahela Jayawardene was unplayable.”

Foakes also praised the influence of Cook, with whom he shared a partnership of 82 which effectively swung the match in Essex’s favour.

“Yeah definitely he (Cook) is obviously a good person to bat with, he’s got a lot of experience and he was giving me a bit of advice out there. To have a guy like that out there, talking about options and that sort of stuff was brilliant for me,” he said.

Keeping for the evening was also something Ben enjoyed.

He said: “Keeping for the evening was nice to be fair, I haven’t really done much – I think I’ve put the gloves on about twice in practice, and I played for Frinton-on-Sea to get a bit in, but obviously I love keeping. I felt a bit rusty, but it’s always good to get the gloves on.”