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Liam Plunkett wants to see England live up to world-beating status

Liam Plunkett is out to help England live up to their world number one billing.

Liam Plunkett wants to be part of an England team which lives up to its world-beating status again.

Plunkett, who faces an uncertain future with Yorkshire and will miss two one-day internationals against Sri Lanka to get married in October, will not be letting any of those issues distract him from success against Australia in Cardiff this weekend.

England managed that on Wednesday to go 1-0 up in the five-match ODI series but by key seamer Plunkett’s admission, were short of standards which have put them top of the International Cricket Council rankings and raised hopes they could win the World Cup for the first time next summer.

For a team whose big-hitting batting line-up is its undoubted strength, there was nothing convincing about a chase of just 214 which limped over the line at The Oval.

Plunkett, who was dropped by Yorkshire this month following his return from the Indian Premier League, impressed with three for 42 in a bowling collective which showed significant improvement from the shock defeat against Scotland.

“We tied them down, and the spinners bowled really nicely,” he said.

“We’d take that all the time. But absolutely, we agreed as a batting unit we should be able to finish that off.

“There were soft dismissals, and we’re looking to erase them.

“We need to show why we’re number one in the world.”

England’s opponents are in a vulnerable state, shorn of half their full-strength team through injury and former captain Steve Smith and combative opener David Warner’s year-long bans for their parts in the ball-tampering fiasco during their Test tour of South Africa two months ago.

That sorry saga has left them hostages to the treatment of partisan crowds eager to remind Australia of their misdemeanours.

Plunkett is not sympathetic.

“I don’t feel sorry for them,” he said. “You’re going to get it – it’s part of sport.

“I’m sure it would be the same if someone on the England team had done that…you get plenty of stick when you go and play against Australia Down Under.”

After dismissing Australia’s top-scorer and his ex-Yorkshire team-mate Glenn Maxwell, Plunkett was happy to throw in a tidy ‘sledge’ of his own too.

“It was nice of him to hit a half-volley straight down someone’s throat… I enjoyed that,” he said.

– Australia strike bowler Billy Stanlake is a doubt for the second ODI after injuring his toe in training. Jhye Richardson may be the like-for-like replacement.

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