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.
The former Durham allrounder 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 for six 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, who finished unbeaten on 58, was the result of Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie encouraging his aggression.
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“Dizzy told me last year to be aggressive in everything I do, batting, bowling and fielding,” said Plunkett. “When I’m an aggressive bowler I’m more accurate and I bowl the odd short ball which gets me going – I feel in a good rhythm and feel good about my cricket.
“I think my extra pace is because I’ve played a lot more cricket. I’ve always taken pride in my fitness and it’s just all about playing.
Dizzy gave me targets and the best way he felt I could go about my game. I did a lot of strength work in the winter and looked after myself a lot better and 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 whereas 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 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.
By combining they helped Yorkshire reach a fourth batting point and denied Warwickshire a bowling point for the first time this season, and 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 announced today, 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 stood firm.
Tim Ambrose contributed a useful 21 before edging Tim Bresnan to first slip, where Gary Balance took the catch at the second attempt, while Yorkshire claimed a bonus wicket just two overs before bad light ended play.