Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Melbourne

Bird to make Boxing Day debut

Brydon Coverdale

December 24, 2012

Comments: 78 | Text size: A | A

Jackson Bird will become Australia's 431st Test cricketer on Boxing Day against Sri Lanka after the coach Mickey Arthur confirmed the left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc would be rested. The decision means the only remaining uncertainty around Australia's side is the fitness of the captain Michael Clarke, who will be given until the morning of the match to prove himself ready, after batting in the MCG nets on Monday.

Bird, 26, will share the new ball with Peter Siddle and his strong record in Melbourne, where he has taken 14 first-class wickets in two matches, indicates he should be suited to the conditions. However, there will be extra pressure on Bird given that the man he is replacing, Starc, collected 5 for 63 in the second innings of Australia's victory against Sri Lanka in Hobart and remains fit and will be left out only because of workload concerns.

Starc, 22, is expected to return to the side for the Sydney Test, and his rotation out of the team means Bird, Siddle and Mitchell Johnson will share the pace duties in Melbourne. Arthur defended Australia's decision to rest Starc, who has taken 14 wickets in the past two Tests, and said it was made with the goal of ensuring he will remain fit for Australia's busy upcoming schedule in 2013.

"That's a real tough decision to make," Arthur said. "It's a tough conversation with Mitch and he took it very well. He's clearly very disappointed and I wouldn't expect anything other than that. We've just got to look and see the amount of cricket that we've got going forward. Mitch is integral to that.

"Mitch is our one quick bowler who plays in all three forms of the game. He starts in all three forms of the game. It is tough on Mitch but hopefully he misses one Test to make sure that we don't have another injury and that there's a lot of longevity with that decision and he's ready to go in the one-dayers, he's ready to go for the tour of India and he's ready to go for the Ashes."

Arthur said he was confident Bird could handle the pressures of Test cricket given the way he had risen to first-class cricket since making his debut last summer. Bird, who plays for Tasmania having moved from New South Wales to gain greater opportunities, is a consistent bowler who works on a nagging line and length.

"When he went down to Tassie he has bowled unbelievably well, he's taken 50 wickets last season and well on the way, leading wicket-taker in the Shield this year," Arthur said. "He brings line and length, he brings pressure, he swings the ball out, he brings some nice pace. He's got all the attributes of a quick bowler. We've got a lot of faith in Jackson. At the start of the summer we had a list of bowlers that we wanted to keep fresh and keep ready to go and Jackson was one of them."

Bird spent Monday morning working hard in the nets, where all eyes were on Australia's captain Clarke, who continued his recovery from a hamstring injury. Clarke faced 15 minutes of throwdowns from the assistant batting coach Stuart Law and then spent about half an hour facing the bowlers, including Johnson, Nathan Lyon and John Hastings, who is not part of the squad, and he also jogged between the wickets to test his running.

Australia will not make a decision on whether Clarke leads the side or hands the reins to the vice-captain Shane Watson until the morning of the match, and while Arthur said he was happy with Clarke's progress, he also indicated that the upcoming workload would need to be taken into consideration. The decision will be made based on advice from Clarke and the team physio Alex Kountouris.

"We'll give the skipper as long as possible," Arthur said. "That might only be on the morning of the game. He's clearly improving. Whether or not that gets it over the line I'm not sure. But we'll give him right until the very last before we make that call.

"I'd love Michael Clarke captaining the team in a Boxing Day Test match with a series on the line. He went far better today than he did yesterday and I suspect he'll go far better tomorrow than he did today. It's a 50-50 call. We've got to be mindful as well, much like the Mitchell Starc decision, of the amount of important cricket that we've got coming up. We've got to be intelligent with the decision we make. But if I was a betting man I'd bet on Michael Clarke leading the team out on Boxing Day."

Dean Jones, the former Test batsman and batting coach of South Australia, has been on hand at the MCG over the past couple of days, working as a mentor to the batsmen in the same way that Allan Border, Greg Blewett, Tom Moody and Matthew Hayden have earlier this summer. Jones spent plenty of time with Clarke in the nets on Monday and said while he was impressed with the captain's work, the test would be running between the wickets in a match situation.

"[He was ] absolutely superb, I couldn't fault him at all," Jones said. "He ran a bit between the wickets and he was good. He's going to take it until the last minute I think, but batting wise he was fine. [But] with the soft surrounds around the pitch, if you bat first and you're running between the wickets, you get into a situation where there might be half a chance of a run-out, you put your spikes in and you see what happens there. I'm bullish the way he is. He looked really good in the nets. Better than yesterday."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (December 25, 2012, 22:33 GMT)

I still think between Siddle, Pattinson, Starc, Harris, Hilfi, Cutting, Bird, Hilfi, Cummins, Halzelwood they can take 200 English wickets. god help them if Anderson gets injured.

Posted by landl47 on (December 25, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

I guess Australia is being cautious with Starc because of the experience with Pattinson. They were advised that he would break down in the SA series, played him anyway and sure enough he broke down. I haven't heard anything suggesting that Aus has been given a similar warning about Starc, but once bitten, twice shy.

Posted by popcorn on (December 25, 2012, 14:13 GMT)

I cannot understand this CHIP CHOP Selection Criteria. Would the Selectors have rested Mitchell Starc if we were playing against the Poms? Why wrap him up in cotton wool? When we have a winning combination going,why change it? Mitchell Johnson should have ALSO played at Hobart, after his superlative performance against the Saffers at the WACA.Instead,the Selectors brought in Hilfenhaus at Hobart,who was not as tired as Siddle,but was rested at the WACA. Hilfy left the field at Hobart due a side strain. Funny how we treat these DELICATE fast bowlers. How does Jackson Bird get a leg up over Trent Copeland (unfit?) Pat Cummins (unfit?), James Pattinson (unfit?). What message are the Selectors conveying?

Posted by   on (December 25, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

2Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 24 2012, 04:05 AM GMT) Who? haha this is all getting abit embarrassing for the poor little aussies

Remember those words this guy is the real deal check his first class numbers beware the ashes

Posted by AKS286 on (December 25, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!! @ FieryFerg BBL is a T20 competition don't compare with test. no one can judge talent from T20 if you judge then look at IND cric team.

Posted by Vindaliew on (December 25, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

Brett Lee was quite injury prone in his later days too, but if he was fit you'd never get him to miss a game simply because you wanted him to be "rested". Australia seem to have lost something when that generation retired. The aggression, talent and skill are still there, but the selectors need to hone the weapons to keep them sharp, not keep them in storage.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (December 25, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

how did glenn mcgrath get through all those series without injuries? the only injury prone bowler i remember from the golden era was Dizzy Gillespie. Now with this rotation bowlers are dropping like flies. Starc had to play, and johnson should be forgotten

Posted by gogoldengreens on (December 25, 2012, 2:50 GMT)

Lucky these selectors Weren't around when McGrath & Gillespie were starting off or they wouldn't have found rhythm... Resting after one game is a bit soft if Starc is needed for one day series rest him after this test if series is won... Look what happened against south africa rest once the work is done not half way through. That is how the rest of society works work first then relax

Posted by line.and.length on (December 25, 2012, 0:26 GMT)

I'm not a fan of this resting policy, however I can sort of understand that they might want to be a little over-cautious with Starc given that Pattinson, Cummins, and Hilfenhaus are already out with injuries, and with Harris not ready to come back yet, especially given how much cricket he has played this year. But what I have great issue with is that if they truly want him to be rested and 'well managed' before the upcoming demanding 2013 schedule, then why not rest him from the T20s? and even the one-dayers if need be? Go aussies

Posted by line.and.length on (December 25, 2012, 0:26 GMT)

I'm not a fan of this resting policy, however I can sort of understand that they might want to be a little over-cautious with Starc given that Pattinson, Cummins, and Hilfenhaus are already out with injuries, and with Harris not ready to come back yet, especially given how much cricket he has played this year. But what I have great issue with is that if they truly want him to be rested and 'well managed' before the upcoming demanding 2013 schedule, then why not rest him from the T20s? and even the one-dayers if need be? Go aussies

Posted by Jediroya on (December 25, 2012, 0:05 GMT)

Australia resting a player from a Test match to ensure he is right for the one-dayers? Please, somebody, ask Ian Chappell to publish his opinion on this.

Posted by Mervo on (December 25, 2012, 0:05 GMT)

Starc is reported to be gutted by his omission. What a great reward for his hard work. This is so stupid. Inverarity, we hoped for more common sense from you. Are you listening to the fitness 'experts' and not using your experience? No other country does this rotation. There is a reason.

You need to put your best team on the field, not experiment.

Posted by Mervo on (December 25, 2012, 0:05 GMT)

Starc is reported to be gutted by his omission. What a great reward for his hard work. This is so stupid. Inverarity, we hoped for more common sense from you. Are you listening to the fitness 'experts' and not using your experience? No other country does this rotation. There is a reason.

You need to put your best team on the field, not experiment.

Posted by madscientist001 on (December 24, 2012, 23:56 GMT)

If Clarke is not fit, they should have brought back Haddin to keep. Wade is a good enough bat and his medium pacers look useful. I can't believe some of the batsmen they are pushing now, Brad Hodge is still much better than them.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 24, 2012, 23:37 GMT)

It's quite obvious to me that clarkes short spell policy is not genius at all as these short bursts are causing Aussie bowlers to break down. Bowlers know they only have 2 overs, try too hard instead of easing into a longer spell and therefore pick up injuries/ side strains

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 24, 2012, 22:49 GMT)

Surely anyone in australia must feel they have a chance of getting a scrappy green after all the little injuries (pattinsons strained hair & the horror broken fingernail suffered by cummins)

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 21:23 GMT)

The test series vs Sri Lanka is not won. Would prefer Starc to finish the job he started in Hobart and then rest for the third test. There is no replacement for experience and time in the middle and im sure Starc's confidence would be considerably boosted if his good form in the 2nd innings in Hobart saw him wrap up a test series win.

Posted by hhillbumper on (December 24, 2012, 21:11 GMT)

you can get long odds on him surviving a full test. How many overs before another Aussie bowler gets injured and we get another story of what might have been. On paper there is a lot of potential but the game is played on Grass and no use if Bowlers can never bowl

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 24, 2012, 20:47 GMT)

The Christmas Minnow Big Bash - Tastier than left over turkey curry.

Posted by FieryFerg on (December 24, 2012, 20:23 GMT)

@AKS286 Interesting that this season we're getting full coverage of BBL this year in the UK and we can see how overrated a few that you mention are. Coulter-Nile, Cutting, McDermott, etc are no better than anything around in county cricket - Buck, Harris, etc and they are nothing special. No great pace and no special skills. Cummins looks like the real deal but may turn out to be another Bruce Reid.

Posted by Nerk on (December 24, 2012, 20:22 GMT)

I'm glad this selection panel was not around when McGrath was playing, otherwise he would have only played half as many tests and Australia would have played won half as many matches. Starc is fit to play. He is in great form. He should play.

Posted by bonobo on (December 24, 2012, 18:54 GMT)

The Aussies have decided on a clear strategy, that is they want their bowlers to produce fast attacking direct spells, which means a couple of things - Clarke keeps spells short, even when a bowler is doing well he will rotate them after a few overs, use of stock bowlers himself, Warner, Hussey etc....even when the bowlers are on top....and again a determination to rest players even when in form and alternatives are limited (or Mitchell Johnson). There has clearly been some success with this, they aussies have quickly become acompetitive force again, when it looked like it could be a long period of re-building. New bowlers are having instance impacts, older bowlers are reviving their careers. The averages for Aussies bowlers are superior to say Englands, but then over the course of a year or a series, they are taking less wickets individually...the attacks change game to game and so does the consistency....and players dont seem to be building long tierm stamina...

Posted by gregjones on (December 24, 2012, 16:57 GMT)

Anybody there to kick out the fitness instructor of the Aussie team. If one looks back, there might be atleast 35 to 40 injuries (mostly fast bowlers) in the last 3 to 4 years and nobody is even talking about it. Clarke's been brilliant as captain except his rotation of the bowlers and immense faith in Nathan Lyon as the whole of Australia's lone spinner (don't know till date what does Clarke sees in him) which is hurting Australia's progress towards the number one status. The Aussies should follow the England formula and include 2 spinners (excluding Lyon of course) for the tour of India if they have got any chance to win the series there as they are gonna provide dry and spinning tracks for all the test matches.

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

As an Englishman, I can pay Jackson Bird no greater compliment than to say that on seaming English wickets I fear him far more than Pattinson, Cummins, Starc, Siddle, Johnson or Hilfenahus; more, in fact, than any Aussie seamer bar Ryan Harris. As for the Aussie rotation policy: it's muddleheaded thinking at its worst. More than any other type of player, fast bowlers rely on rhythm & momentum to maintain form & fitness: disrupt the continuity of rhythm & momentum by resting them when fully fit & you risk compromising both form & fitness. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall were Mickey Arthur to have told Lillie, Thomson, McDermott, Hughes, Lee or McGrath that, immediately after taking a storming five-for, they were being rested to 'protect' them. The policy's also full of holes re its consistency of application: while the seamers are being mollycoddled, Clarke's expected to risk his hamstring & Watson continues to bat in a position that affords him little rest between innings.

Posted by Htc-Baseball on (December 24, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

@Sinhaya: please dude there is whole pack of Sinhaya followers who are very much impressed by your neutral comments and energy.. Your way of approach towards cricket is mindblowing to say the least.Many more to come.

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 15:02 GMT)

Both Australia and Pakistan seem to produce pace bowlers, a plenty! Enough to spare! Andy F /ECB, why don't you start outsourcing from these new procurement centres too, instead of depending on just one vendor! S A had been supplying good quality materials, but depending on just one source...? Of course, don't "dern back" on the one you already got, though. Even though, he is not fiery, his subtle variations are deceptive and can fetch wickets. But not good enough to partner Jimmy. Jimmy needs strong support from the other end.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 24, 2012, 15:02 GMT)

@Jono Makim on (December 24 2012, 12:36 PM GMT), you're quite right. I hadn't really considered all the domestic cricket that Starc has played outside the regular Australian season so, with that in mind, it's probably not such a bad idea to give him a breather. Also, with a so many of Australia's bowlers looking rather brittle at the moment, it makes sense that they would want to get as many of the young up-and-comers some international experience as possible. You never know when the whole first-string attack might break down so the reserves had better be ready. Encouragingly, Starc has looked to be a bit more resilient than some of his contemporaries. I wonder whether that's related to the fact that his action seems to be a bit more fluid and seemingly less reliant on brute force to generate pace than someone like Cummins.

Posted by AKS286 on (December 24, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

The future of Oz fast bowling is very bright with promising players like- starc, pattinson,cummins, bird, coulter nile, mcdermott, cutting, george, edmondson, behrendroff,putland, etc i miss hogan in odis but now he retires. but the future of spin & batting is really a bleak for Oz. look how very overrated, ordinary, below avg batsman khawaja is the best domestic batsman. how much standard declined. remember those days- love, maher, law, hodge, de vinuto, elliot, blewett, perren, philpson,south,arnbergur, WK campbell were playing in domestic cricket. paine is better than wade but clarke favoritism is upon wade. warner never looks like a test batsman.

Posted by Solace1 on (December 24, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

@Sinhaya-2: Bro i am not imitating, you are an idol for us, all i ask is for your positive energy to win the second test

Posted by landl47 on (December 24, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

@TommyTuckerSaffa: Dale Steyn was just rested from the second SA/NZ T20, which SA lost. Admittedly it's only a T20, but your claim that Steyn is never rested is clearly rubbish.

Posted by Herath-UK on (December 24, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

Are Aussies already scared by not revealing the truth that Carke is not fit enough to play and preventing any advantage that may come Sri Lanka's way Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 13:14 GMT)

I thought that Aussie believed in Best possible Eleven must take field in test cricket, look likes the Aussie are more worried about injuries than win a test Match.

Poor thinking from Management,a decision to rest a young fast bowler who is on a roll is not in a good taste of Test Cricket.

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

@Nicholas Saunders, your imagination has a short memory, since Jimmy was rested against the West Indies just a few months back!

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

I think people are missing the point somewhat with Starc, the fact is that he has been playing non-stop cricket since June. With Yorkshire, the tour of the UAE, T20 WC, Champions League in SA, Shield matches and the last couple of tests. Can it really last? Doubt it. No harm in him missing this one in my view. The cricketing world has changed and I think MS Dhoni is the only one left managing to play every game!

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 24, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

@SK5983, ignore what Sinhaya-2 says. I am the original commentor here by the name Sinhaya and now few others have started imitating me. It will be a tough test for sure as we have our worse test record against the Aussies. But hope crowd support will help us. Aussies are no doubt tough at home.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 24, 2012, 12:11 GMT)

If bowlers are being rested then we may have to look at resting batsman, how can Clarke play when he has a hamstring issue and Starc rested when he is at full fitness.

Posted by Marcio on (December 24, 2012, 12:08 GMT)

I'd prefer to see Starc keep playing. Johnson seems to be left hanging. Johnson is a bit stiff, you might say. But good luck to Bird. I guess in the interests of quality control you could say its better to have a Bird than a Johnson. I guess we'll finally see how Bird measures up.

Posted by PFEL on (December 24, 2012, 11:53 GMT)

- NSP brings in a policy for resting fast bowlers this season - this season shows unprecedented rates of fast bowlers being injured - Curious correlation . . .

Posted by TontonZolaMoukoko on (December 24, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

When I first read the article I was probably a typical "English troll" that Dashgar was writing about, however you can really argue with his first class stats so it will be interesting to see how he goes. However, I'm hugely against resting players for test matches, I assume Starc would've been involved in talks about this, it would be interesting to know how much input he had into which game(s) he will miss.

Posted by Meety on (December 24, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

@hmmmmm... on (December 24 2012, 03:25 AM GMT) - the thing is, the NSP had a policy at the start of the summer to rotate the younger bowlers in the pace attack, they opted NOT to rest Patto for Adelaide & he got injured. Whilst there probably isn't enough hard data to work what is best practise with young pacemen. It would of been a tough call to rest Patto for Adelaide after being our best pacer at the Gabba, they didn't & he is out for the summer. The NSP would look foolish IF Starc broke down at the MCG - although IMO Starc looks pretty robust.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 24, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

@Macca_Mat and @land47 no doubt Khawaja deserves his chance but feel sorry for him as he will have to wait till the morning of the test match to find out if he is playing, not the ideal way to prepare but i guess you wlil take any opportunity that you get. I personally would like to see Khawaja get a longer run but am more worried that we rush Clarke back in and he does further damage running between wickets as he usually bats very long innings.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 24, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

I'm not against resting players when their schedules warrant it but has Starc really been playing so much that he needs to be rested for this Test match?

Posted by Dashgar on (December 24, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

I agree with all the English trolls. Australia scraping the bottom of the barrel with this guy. He averages 19 with the ball and was leading wicket taker in the Sheffield shield last year. Surely we can do better, this guy is a nobody, I guarantee you be won't take more than 7 wickets in the first innings of this test.

Posted by Dashgar on (December 24, 2012, 10:42 GMT)

Given Nathan Lyon's nickname is Gary after Gary Lyon I definitely think Bird's nickname should be Larry

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 24, 2012, 10:27 GMT)

Yeah Nichjolas Saunders you are right the Poms wouldnt rest Jimmy Anderson because they have no-one else. The Aussies have massive fast bowling depth and there will be no difference between playing Starc or Bird. Front-Foot-Lunge maybe you should come up with a new line, wasnt intelligent or witty the first time you used it, imaagine reading it a half a dozen times. If you are going to pay out the aussies at least be witty.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 24, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

@Land47 even Khawaja will be hoping Clarke is fit to go, no one can go past Clarke's form at the moment as every player wants their team to do well. Saying that the selectors have to make sure that like Watto they give Clarke time to get his fitness right as there is alot of running involved in getting a big 200 and that's the form Clarke is in at the moment. Khawaja will love the experience of playing in front of a 80000 crowd and he deserves it.

Posted by KhanMitch on (December 24, 2012, 10:22 GMT)

Khawaja has been named in the 12 man squad because Clarke is still not confirmed fit. Obviously with another test stragiht after this in Sydney, ODI and an Indian series not too far away selectors will have to make sure Clarke's hamstring can take the weight of making a big 100, 200 or even 300 given the form he is in. Khawaja will be ready if he is not but obviously you can't go past Clarke's form at the moment.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 24, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

The Christmas Minnow Big Bash continues with Australia struggling to find a team to match an equally poor Sri Lankan side. More of the seamer Lyon's pies will make for another exceptionally boring cricket match.

Posted by Nightwing32 on (December 24, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

Look let's be fair to the Australians. I would rather players getting rested in the India series, Sri Lankan series and South African series that happened than losing pace bowlers in the next two Ashes series and also without the backups having no experience. For Australia, the Ashes are the goal and with two of them in close vicinity in 2013 and 13/14 gotta keep the bowlers fresh.

Posted by brittop on (December 24, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

@Nicholas Saunders on (December 24 2012, 08:07 AM GMT): you don't have to imagine - it was only in June this year that he was rested for the 3rd test v West Indies.

Posted by inefekt on (December 24, 2012, 8:35 GMT)

@ RednWhiteArmy and David Brumby Have either of you watched the Aussie team of late? Did you not know that they were one win away from regaining the number one spot two weeks ago? Yeah, it's embarrassing right? Next time you make a comment, make it an informed one thanks.

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

Best of luck J Bird, really looking forward to watching you bowl!

Posted by Beertjie on (December 24, 2012, 8:18 GMT)

For me it's about opportunity. Bird will show in perhaps two tests that he would be capable of playing in the Ashes. Could be an Alderman!

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

can't imagine Jimmy Anderson getting rested for a test match....

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

Rest him from the ODIs. Pick the best XI fit men. Does Steyn or Anderson rest from the biggest test of the summer? Far out!

Posted by mediumslow on (December 24, 2012, 7:58 GMT)

Australian cricket is so far behind that it believes its own rhetoric. The crowds are down, the talent is down, the interest is down, the results are down and most of our bowlers need to be down too!Lillie must be pulling what ever is left of his hair out of his head as he watches wimps run the game and now play it. Inverarity was an ordinary player and he is not any better as an administrator.

Posted by 200ondebut on (December 24, 2012, 7:19 GMT)

Aussie bowlers are about as tough as Nasser Hussains fingers.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (December 24, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

@Sinhaya, be a dreamer, but not be a day-dreamer. This Sri Lanka batting line up is weak despite having a experienced set of middle order batsmen. Sangakara and Jaywardhena are not successful batmen in alien conditions, there records says the same.

Posted by gibboj on (December 24, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

why are we resting him just after he finds form

Posted by DylanBrah on (December 24, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

Australia just have an endless supply of test quality fast bowlers. Unreal.

Posted by trex1981 on (December 24, 2012, 6:24 GMT)

Cummins and Pattinson's injuries seems to have made the selectors paranoid. Hastings only got picked to protect Hilfenhaus & Siddle, & Bird has only been picked to protect Starc. Hastings will probably never play test cricket again, and Bird, well who knows, but he does have a pretty decent First Class record.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 24, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

When is the last time the world's best fast bowler(Dale Steyn) from the world's best team (S.A.) was rested?? Never!! Confused team management from the ozzies, they keep chucking these debutants into the fire. We all saw what happened to Hastings and quiney against South Africa....will they ever get another test again after being annilated?

Posted by vj_gooner on (December 24, 2012, 6:08 GMT)

I'm seriously worried that our fast bowlers can't even play 3 tests! Its seriously worrying!

Posted by Hammond on (December 24, 2012, 6:06 GMT)

Someone must have listened to me. This bloke is really gold, certainly not bog average.

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 5:38 GMT)

Where does Australia get these fast bowlers from???

Posted by FazleAbed on (December 24, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

I believe it is a good move. Strac is playing Test, ODI, t20, Now there are serious amount of pressure for fast bowlers. I believe on the besis of talent pattinson and cummins are little ahead of strac. now if strac is getting injured like cummins and pattinson it will be really bad for australian cricket. Just look the second test between australia and south africa. final 2 day australia play with only three bowlers. Again given a new bowler is a great advantage in future tests. winning against Srilanka by 3-0 in less better than producing new fast bowlers. it is a opportunity cost. Australia need at least 1-2 years to figure out the best bowling combination. Let them try the rotation policy.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 24, 2012, 4:35 GMT)

Seriously resting Starc is no issue, not much difference between his abilities and Johnson and Birds. They are all pretty similar, he was probably licky to get the Hobart game as Johnson outbowled him in Perth. He will be ready to go come the Sydney test and the other two will more than make up for his absence.

Posted by Solace1 on (December 24, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

This is our best chance to wrap up this test inside 3 days and tie this series at 1-1

Posted by Claydo78 on (December 24, 2012, 4:19 GMT)

When the last time dale steyn was rested? Or injuried for that matter? CA has a lot to answer for with they training methods, it's disgraceful a fast bowler can't bowler 20 plus overs in a day without getting injured! Congratulations to bird, he is the 1st bowler in the last 5 years to be picked with a good record in state cricket, I hope he takes a bag full!

Posted by satish619chandar on (December 24, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

Starc rested? Especially if Clarke doesn't play? I think a bad selection issue this will be. One of the very bad selection errors in recent times. Starc in red hot form and MUST play.

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 4:10 GMT)

Starc is Australia's best young cricketer at the moment we cannot over work him he is a Race horse not to be meant to pull carts. Starc is not necessary to beat Sri Lanka but playing senior guys is not understood. Could have played promising young fast bowlers.

Posted by SamRoy on (December 24, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

Thing is Clarke should rest if he is not 100%, but CA doesn't understand that. They rest their extremely talented young pacemen who was wayward to start but had just started to come back into form and was completely fit to play this game.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 24, 2012, 4:05 GMT)

Who? haha this is all getting abit embarrassing for the poor little aussies

Posted by   on (December 24, 2012, 3:42 GMT)

Well done again Australia. Rest a guy who has only played 4 games this entire summer..hahahahahaha. The least of anyone. Bring in Bird who has bowled far more overs?.lol. Oh yeah this resting makes REAL sense. And we wonder why Australian cricket is heading downwards fast. Can anyone explain it.

Posted by landl47 on (December 24, 2012, 3:26 GMT)

Good luck to Bird. This looks like an interesting Australian seam attack with three different styles and it will be fascinating to see how they go against the experienced Sri Lanka line-up. The bigger issue is how Clarke pulls up after his practice today. I'm sure every Aussie supporter as well as the team (with the possible exception of Khawaja!) is hoping he will be right for the game. Admittedly, SL's attack isn't the most potent in Australian conditions, but Clarke means such a lot to the Aus side, for his inspiring captaincy as much as his batting. With Clarke, I like Aus to repeat their success in the first test; without him, it looks more like 50-50.

Posted by hmmmmm... on (December 24, 2012, 3:25 GMT)

Madness - this "rotation" policy is ridiculous. Resting fit players! It's like taking a sick day so you don't get a cold on the way to work and not be available for the next day of work!

Posted by peeeeet on (December 24, 2012, 3:19 GMT)

The only time a player shoul be rested or rotated is in the short forms. In test cricket you put your best available XI on the park. It is consistency of selection that builds a successful team culture, as what is going to happen now is that players won't know if they're playing or not and that doesn't lead down a good path.

Posted by FazleAbed on (December 24, 2012, 3:19 GMT)

Welcome to the toughest game on earth....... Do not disappoint yourself

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
Tour Results
Australia v Sri Lanka at Melbourne - Jan 28, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 2 runs (D/L method)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Sydney - Jan 26, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 5 wickets (with 7 balls remaining)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Hobart - Jan 23, 2013
Australia won by 32 runs
Australia v Sri Lanka at Sydney - Jan 20, 2013
No result
Australia v Sri Lanka at Brisbane - Jan 18, 2013
Sri Lanka won by 4 wickets (with 180 balls remaining)
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