LIAM PLUNKETT last night reflected on his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket and declared: “This is just the start”.
The Yorkshire pace bowler took 5-64 from 15.5 overs in just his second game back after a seven-year absence. He believes it can be the springboard to better things.
“I feel like this is just the start,” said Plunkett, whose previous best was 3-17 against the same opponents at Edgbaston in 2006.
“It was important for me to show I can perform at Test level and I think I managed to do that. I feel confident now, whereas when I played Test cricket before I didn’t feel as confident.
“I back myself a lot more now and it was a fantastic feeling to pick up five wickets.”
Plunkett ripped the heart from the Sri Lankan middle-order and even succeeded in upstaging Stuart Broad, who became the first Englishman to take two hat-tricks in Test cricket – three years after he first performed the feat.
Plunkett admitted that he has got the match ball as opposed to his Nottinghamshire colleague.
“I’ve got it, but I’ll cut a bit of the seam off for Stuart,” he joked.
“I didn’t even ask to be honest – I just took the ball.
“Eighteen months ago, I never dreamt that a day like this would happen for me.
“But, as soon as I played last week, I felt a part of the set-up – right from when I turned up at the first net session.”
Plunkett, who took 2-155 on a slow, flat pitch in the first Test at Lord’s, worried the Sri Lankans on a quicker surface at Headingley.
Dinesh Chandimal, who hit his team’s second-highest score of 45, said the Middlesbrough-born player – watched by his parents – posed plenty of problems.
“Plunkett bowled well,” said Chandimal. “He gets a bit of extra bounce and he’s totally different to the other fast bowlers.
“At one stage, it looked like we would get 350 or something. But, as a batting unit, we didn’t capitalise and it was very disappointing.”