Liam Plunkett responded to a call for aggression from Yorkshire to dominate with bat and ball and ensure they took control of their championship match with Warwickshire at Headingley today.
The former Durham all-rounder hammered an aggressive 86 from 75 balls to help Yorkshire reach a commanding 444 and then delivered several quick spells to help reduce Warwickshire to 136-6 on the second day.
His all-round display, hitting his highest score for Yorkshire and playing his part in an absorbing contest with Warwickshire captain Ian Bell (58no), was the result of coach Jason Gillespie encouraging his aggression.
“I spoke to Dizzy and he gave me targets and the best way he felt I could go about my game was to be aggressive in everything I do,” explained Plunkett. “I did a lot of strength work in the winter and looked after myself a lot better. Maybe I’ve picked up a yard or so of pace but it’s more consistent.
“Maybe I did bowl the odd quick spell but it’s throughout now. Since the start of the year it’s been consistent. Every spell has been the same and I’ve not really dropped off, which is obviously through the better fitness.”
Plunkett was the dominant force in helping to add 109 crucial runs for the ninth wicket with Steve Patterson, who was the ideal foil and provided a more measured approach.
They helped Yorkshire reach a fourth batting point and denied Warwickshire a bowling point for the first time this season. That shifted the momentum firmly in Yorkshire’s direction.
Patterson contributed 43 to the partnership before falling to Jeetan Patel’s off-spin, while Plunkett was caught in the deep having hit five fours and four sixes in front of watching England assistant coach Paul Farbrace.
Tipped for a recall in the England one-day squad, which is announced tomorrow, Plunkett then followed up impressive new-ball spells from Patterson and Jack Brooks that quickly left Warwickshire in trouble.
Plunkett’s rapid spell accounted for opener Will Porterfield, who edged to fourth slip, and although he tested Bell during the early stages, the Warwickshire captain held firm despite regularly losing partners.
Chris Woakes was out just two overs before bad light ended play, bowled by Kane Williamson’s off-spin.