Gillespie the right man for Plunkett
Yorkshire 11 for 0 trial Warwickshire 128 (Troughton 65*, Plunkett 5-32) by 117 runs
Yorkshire's bold decision to tempt Liam Plunkett away from Durham during the winter was widely regarded as a major gamble, but just five weeks into the new season their faith has been rewarded with his best bowling performance in nearly four years.
Few counties were queuing up to secure the services of a bowler good enough to play nine Tests and 29 one-day internationals for England, most recently in 2011. Indeed his radar had malfunctioned sufficiently for Durham to select him only three times in Championship matches over the past two years.
But having battled through the dark times with Durham, he has responded to encouragement from Jason Gillespie, the former Australian Test bowler and Yorkshire's first team coach, and claimed 5 for 32 to help dismiss Warwickshire, the county champions, for just 128. It was his best return since claiming 6 for 85 against Nottinghamshire in September, 2009 and provided hope that, at 28, his talent may yet be revived.
"I felt good at the start of the year against the Universities and took six-for, so it's nice going in the Championship as well," Plunkett said. "I went away this winter and did some work in Adelaide and it was just nice to be able to prove to myself that I can take five in an innings. I've picked up twos and threes, but to get five makes you confident."
His display ensured Yorkshire dominated an opening day that had the morning session wiped out by rain. Exploiting swing-friendly conditions after winning the toss, Yorkshire seized control early with openers Varun Chopra and Will Porterfield falling to loose shots in difficult conditions.
Only Jim Troughton, who carried his bat over three hours to finish unbeaten on 65, showed the necessary application to survive in testing circumstances. His team-mates failed to follow his example and fell to a succession of ill-judged shots with Plunkett claiming three wickets in 18 balls before returning to finish off the innings.
"I'm enjoying my game massively," Plunkett said. "I just felt a bit stale at Durham but being here I feel fresh and I feel in good rhythm. It goes hand in hand for me. When I'm enjoying it things fit in and that's the way I'm feeling right now.
"For someone to come and offer you a contract for three years and put that faith in you has been awesome. To have Dizzy, with everything he has achieved and the way he goes about things, do that is great. He is much more relaxed than I thought and for me that's what I needed, not to have too many complications but just go out and enjoy your cricket, try and bowl quick and hit the keeper's gloves and that's benefitted me so far this year."
For Warwickshire, currently struggling with a casualty list that includes six players, it was a chastening experience. It was their lowest total since being dismissed for 98 against Hampshire in August 2011.