Bird to make Test debut

2012-12-24 07:30
Jackson Bird (Getty)

Melbourne - Paceman Jackson Bird has been handed an early Christmas present after being named to make his debut for Australia in the second Test against Sri Lanka starting in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Bird, the leading wicket-taker in the domestic Sheffield Shield, will take the new ball in front of a bumper crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day as Australia seek to seal the three-match series 2-0.

"I got the call from Mickey yesterday to say that I'm in the final 11," Bird told reporters at the MCG on Monday, referring to Australia coach Mickey Arthur.

"So yeah, it's very exciting and I'm looking forward to it.

"In the last 18 months I've been pretty successful in first-class cricket.

"I suppose I've got a pretty good record here at the MCG as well, and I guess there's always an element of luck in there as well. There's a few injuries going around.

"In saying that I feel like I'm ready for Test cricket and hopefully I can repay the faith in Mickey and the selectors."

Australia will rest 22-year-old paceman Mitchell Starc as part of the team's controversial rotation policy, following a raft of injuries that have gutted their pace bowling stocks.

Starc, who took a five-wicket haul to help Australia secure a final-hour victory in the first Test in Hobart, was disappointed with the decision, Arthur said.

"That's a real tough decision to make. It's a tough conversation with Mitch. He took it very, very well," Arthur said.

"(He's) clearly very disappointed and we wouldn't expect anything other than that."

Starc's omission sees Mitchell Johnson recalled to the side after he was dropped following the third and final Test against South Africa, which Australia lost by 309 runs to concede the series 1-0.

Johnson replaces Ben Hilfenhaus, who broke down during the Hobart Test and joined James Pattinson and Pat Cummins on the sidelines with a raft of other injured fast bowlers.

Only Peter Siddle, who took nine wickets in a man-of-the-match performance at Hobart, has been retained in the pace attack, with Australia forced to re-shuffle their fast bowlers for a third consecutive Test.

Nathan Lyon has been retained despite weathering a chorus of criticism from former players and pundits after failing to take second innings wickets in the previous Tests against Sri Lanka and South Africa.

"Nathan is a very good bowler and will be a very good bowler for Australia going forward," Arthur said, giving the spinner his full backing.

Australia captain Michael Clarke continued to be rated a "50-50" chance of playing after suffering a hamstring strain during the Hobart test but would be given until the last minute to prove his fitness, Arthur added.

"If I was a betting man I would bet on Michael Clarke being in the team on Boxing Day," he said.

Batsman Usman Khawaja remains on stand-by to replace Clarke.

The teams will play the final Test in Sydney from January 3.

Read more on:    cricket


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

We're down to the semi-finals of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Who do you see winning the title when all is said and done?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.