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Australian pacer Jackson Bird to make test debut against Sri Lanka

Melbourne, Dec 24: Fast bowler Jackson Bird has been named to make his Australia debut in the second cricket test against Sri Lanka starting at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.The 26-year-old Bird, who
India TV News Desk December 24, 2012 13:37 IST
India TV News Desk
Melbourne, Dec 24: Fast bowler Jackson Bird has been named to make his Australia debut in the second cricket test against Sri Lanka starting at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.



The 26-year-old Bird, who has been the leading wicket-taker in Australian domestic first class cricket for the past two seasons with Tasmania, was included on Monday in Australia's lineup ahead of Mitchell Starc.

Starc has been rested under Australia's rotational selection policy, designed to spread the workload among its fast bowling contingent.

Captain Michael Clarke has been named in the team and will be given until Wednesday morning to prove his recovery from a hamstring injury. Clarke moved freely when he batted in the nets during Australia's training session on Monday.

Bird, a lanky right-armer, has played first class cricket for only two years for Tasmania but has taken 87 wickets in 17 matches in that time at an average of 19.72.

"I'm going to open the bowling so I'm looking forward to that," Bird said. "I feel I'm ready for test cricket. Hopefully, I can repay the faith of Mickey (Arthur) and the selectors."

Starc took 5-63 in the second innings as Australia won the first test in Perth by 137 runs. Despite that form, he has been rotated out of the Australian lineup, leaving Bird to join a pace attack comprising Peter Siddle and the recalled Mitchell Johnson.

Coach Arthur said Bird "brings line and length" to the Australia attack.

"He brings pressure. He brings nice pace," Arthur said.

Starc had taken his omission well, Arthur added.

"I wouldn't expect anything other than that," he said. "Mitch is our one quick bowler who stars in all three forms of the game.

"We've got a lot of important cricket coming up and Mitch will be an integral part of that. It's tough on Mitch. Hopefully, he misses one test to ensure we don't have another injury."

Johnson has played only one test in 2012 -- against South Africa at Perth in November -- but a side strain suffered by Ben Hilfenhaus during the first test at Hobart has forced his recall.

Arthur said Clarke was "clearly improving" but was being given as much time as possible to overcome his hamstring injury.

"He went better today than he did yesterday," Arthur said. "If I was a betting man, I would bet on Michael Clarke leading the team out on Boxing Day."

Shane Watson will captain Australia if Clarke is unavailable and Usman Khawaja will take Clarke's place in the Australian order.

Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Matt Wade, Peter Siddle, MItchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.