Sri Lanka v England: Plunkett defends decision to put wedding over England

England's Liam Plunkett celebrates taking the wicket of India's Lokesh Rahul during the second Royal London one day international match at Lord's, London.
England's Liam Plunkett celebrates taking the wicket of India's Lokesh Rahul during the second Royal London one day international match at Lord's, London.
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Liam Plunkett is relaxed about inviting competition for his England place after missing the start of the Sri Lanka tour to get married.

Plunkett’s wedding with long-term American partner Emeleah took place last Saturday in the Cotswolds, the same day his team-mates were busy winning the second one-day international 5,000 miles away in Dambulla.

The 33-year-old booked the date when it looked as though the Test leg would be held in October but when the fixtures flipped, Plunkett put family first.

He and his new wife have now joined the trip, with an unusual honeymoon itinerary that takes in two ODIs and a Twenty20.

Yet competition for places has risen in his absence, with rookie seamers Olly Stone and Tom Curran taking advantage of the senior man’s absence to make impressive contributions in the series. “We were so far into the wedding preparation...a lot of people had booked flights and I wasn’t interested in paying them back!” said Plunkett of his decision to press ahead.

“I spoke to Morgs (captain Eoin Morgan), and the hierarchy, and he encouraged me to go ahead with it. In the back of your mind you know someone will come in and do well, but that’s just sport., right?

I spoke to Morgs (captain Eoin Morgan), and the hierarchy, and he encouraged me to go ahead with it. In the back of your mind you know someone will come in and do well, but that’s just sport., right?

Liam Plunkett

“It’s good for the team that people come in and do well. Hopefully I get the nod and play one or two games here but if not I’ll hopefully get a go again.”

Plunkett, who is leaving Yorkshire this winter, is not expected to feature in the fourth game of the series, in Kandy which began at 5.15am this morning, due to a lack of acclimatisation time but is unlikely to be kept on the sidelines for long.

Since coming back into the side after the 2015 World Cup debacle he is England’s most successful 50-over pace bowler, taking 75 wickets in 44 games at an average of 27.45. Among seamers only South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada and New Zealand’s Trent Boult have been more prolific in that time.

“It’s nice to have some credit in the bank, it’s not been a one-off over the last few years,” he said.

“I think England know what I can bring to the game.”

Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow, meanwhile, was a doubt for today’s fourth ODI after injuring himself in the traditional warm-up kick around.

It seemed unlikely he would be risked, with the tourists 2-0 up in the series and a proven replacement opener on hand in the form of Alex Hales.

Wicketkeeper/batsman Bairstow is in the squad for the forthcoming Test series and may not be risked because of that.