Sussex v Australians, Tour match, Hove, 2nd day July 27, 2013

Bird's numbers proving hard to ignore

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Jackson Bird just keeps taking wickets. Eleven at 16.18 in his only two Tests. Nine at 24.00 for Australia A and the Australians in England this year. His first-class tally now stands at 107 victims at 19.71. Statistics don't always tell the whole truth but such figures are hard to ignore, and Bird continued to build a strong case to replace the injured James Pattinson for the Old Trafford Test with a couple of searching spells against Sussex on the second day in Hove.

More than any other member of Australia's attack, Bird made the batsmen play again and again, giving them precious few loose balls to release the pressure. He swung it away from the right-handers early and kept his lines tight, collecting 2 for 33 that should have been three-for when a catch at slip was spilled. Without question he outbowled Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner and after being overlooked for Ryan Harris at Lord's, placed himself at the front of the queue to replace Pattinson in Manchester.

"They went with Ryan and Ryan did very well," Bird said. "It was probably the right selection. I'm not bitter or anything like that. Ryan is a world-class bowler and he showed that at Lord's. But if you're in the squad you're definitely a chance and you have to prepare before each Test match as if you're going to play.

"I feel like I've been bowling pretty well the last couple of weeks. I've been bowling well in the nets and I feel like I'm pretty close to being at 100%. And I suppose if selected next week in Manchester, I feel like I'm ready to do a good job but that's still a week or so away and we've still got a day of cricket tomorrow to concentrate on.

"I suppose there is always the motivation if you're outside the squad to do well, to make the final XI, but I can't control selection. It's not something that I think about all the time. All I can control is taking wickets for Australia and I took a couple today but there's still a bit of work to do tomorrow."

Bird, 26, has been a first-class cricketer for less than two years but has a mature approach, and knows his game well. Last year's Australia A tour of England was a significant learning experience for Bird, who struggled in the unfamiliar conditions and managed only seven wickets at 44.71. His success in three appearances on this Ashes tour are a strong indication that he had accurately assessed his deficiencies on that trip.

"I was probably a bit impatient when I came here last year," Bird said. "Everyone talks about how much the Dukes ball moves around and when I got here last year it didn't really do that. I was trying to swing the ball too much and trying to get too much sideways movement. When the wickets are flat over here the English batters punish bad bowling.

"I just came over here this year knowing that I had to really be diligent on my lines and lengths, especially when the sun is out I really have to build pressure. I feel like I've done that. And when it is cloudy and the conditions suit you, not to get too carried away. You've still got to hit your lines and lengths and that's probably the main thing I've noticed."

Line and length might sound straightforward but the value of Bird's control quickly became apparent when Starc and Faulkner both sent down some wayward deliveries in Hove. His consistent, accurate bowling brought him success in his first two Tests against Sri Lanka last summer in Australia and after nearly four months on the sidelines with a back injury that forced him home from the Test tour of India in February, Bird has moved closer and closer to another opportunity.

"I didn't think I was going to be fit enough in time for the tour," he said. "It's a bonus being here on the Ashes tour and if I play well it's just a bonus. I am definitely enjoying being over here."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | July 28, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    Last Australian summer Bird was being talked about as automatic selection in the test side to play in England. Following his injury, the selectors seem to have very quickly forgotten his virtues. He is tall, is very accurate and does plenty off the deck and through the air to worry most batsmen. I think given opportunity, he will prove to be a most valuable member of this side. The one concerning thing about the spinners in the Australian side is their inability to finish off a batting lineup in the final days as the pitch most suits their bowling and begins to take spin. Lyon is a good bowler, but these days an off spinner needs a doosra to create that element of doubt in the batsmans mind...unfortunately Lyon doesn't have a doosra, this should see the English batsmen playing him quite comfortably. The bold selection would be to include Ahmed in the team with his legspin. Given the Poms historic struggles against legspin Ahmed may just be what the Aussies have been looking for.

  • POSTED BY CapitalMarkets on | July 30, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    If they can't call up Cummins, Bird is certainly the next choice to form a trio of seamers with Harris and Siddle. Personally, I thought Agar played correctly enough and had enough time against fast bowling to turn himself into an opener. It takes a very good delivery to get rid of him and he's been unlucky with two of his four dismissals. He also seemed to me to have both an excellent temperament and technique and he's not going to set the world alight as a slow left armer. If Watson turned himself into an opener somehow, Agar could certainly do it. There's certainly one vacancy at the top of the Australian order and the next three test matches will show us whether there is actually two vacancies to open. Old Trafford is famous for the rain and the weather forecast looks indifferent, so Australia should have the luxury of selecting for the future home series if they don't win. We deserve a bit more of an contest than the capitulation at Lords.

  • POSTED BY CapitalMarkets on | July 30, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    I like the look of what I've seen of Bird and completely agree that Harris and Bird should open the bowling and Siddle is the third seamer. Siddle is an underated cricketer; you don't get to be the number six fast bowler in the world by being a pie thrower and his "we can win it" mentality and all-out effort is exactly what Australia need. The real problem Australia have is the openers. Rogers is a stop gap and it puzzles me that they've picked him over Kaitich, who I remember as more limpet-like and difficult to dislodge. Watson has a faulty technique and shouldn't be opening the innings (personally I don't think he actually offers enough at test level, although having him as fourth seamer is useful, I suppose). Warner seems to have a suspect temperament (I mean as an opener, not as a night-clubber). He is too aggressive for me, which means a few big scores and lots of injudicious attacking play, but a lot of poor scores as well). I don't see a patient batsman with a solid technique.

  • POSTED BY Wefinishthis on | July 30, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    I completely agree with you Brydon, but you've underestimated the current Australian selector's incompetence, not to mention their ignorance of statistics. These are the same people who continue to overlook Australia's glaringly obvious spin solution Steve O'Keefe for absolutey no good reason at all. The four bowlers for the next test would obviously be O'Keefe, Siddle, Harris and Bird. However considering that they blundered by not sending O'Keefe over and the fact that neither Agar nor Lyon are good enough (in fact they are not much better than part-timers Clarke and Smith), our best bet would be to just pick 4 fast bowlers. For that I'd consider Siddle, Harris, Bird and either Faulkner or Sayers. I was disappointed in Pattinson - his first bad series really, but he deserves another chance when he recovers. Bird has to play because our only chance of winning would be for Bird and Harris to open the bowling and have Siddle come on first change.

  • POSTED BY milepost on | July 29, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    @2MikeGattings - you are joking right? Panesar can't get a game for his county and Taylor was let off twice. Bird will play. If you are going to tell jokes at least attempt to make them funny!

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | July 29, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul as an England fan I'd love it if you left out Siddle to accommodate Agar. Against the left-handers Agar's looked good, but the right-handers have been able to play him with relative ease. Bairstow got a good one at Trent Bridge, but he isn't a particularly tough man to get out at the moment. Full and straight does it.

    It's got to be Lyon and Smith as the spin options, surely? While a lot of people have speculated that Monty being called up means we'll play two spinners, I doubt that's going to happen. He's there to give us the option, or if Swann gets a niggle, but we will probably go in with one frontline spinner and have Root as a handy spin option without weakening our batting. Smith offers the same for you.

    The only question is Agar or Lyon as the frontline option. I'd go Lyon, he's a proven Test match performer and given how well Hauritz did in 2009, Lyon (who I think is a better bowler) should do well. But I could see them sticking with Agar.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    If the old trafford wicket is particularly dry it might be prudent to drop Siddle and play Australia's best 2 newball Bowlers in Bird and Harris and then the 2 spinners. That way Australia can still have maximum impact upfront but also have the bowlers to exploit the conditions later in the middle overs. This may mean that Watson may bowl a fair few overs which is not ideal for the impact it may have on his batting but we need to pull out all stops to win. The dillemma though is that Australia's newball bowlers need to go 4 wickets deep to create enough pressure for the spinners to really thrive and it might be a big ask to do with ony 2 specialist seamers. Alternatively Smith could be trusted as the second spinner and Siddle stays but if Agar is included as the second spinner; I feel it is Siddle that would have to stand aside.

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | July 29, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    I think Harris and Bird will be an excellent opening combination. They will make the batsmen play and can do a bit in the air and off the pitch. Going by what's avaiable in the squad, I would select Lyon ahead of Agar. The English will most likely continue to prepare drier pitches that will take turn and Lyon will be essential if Australia manage to win the toss and bat first. I would leave the batsmen unchanged.

  • POSTED BY salazar555 on | July 29, 2013, 1:52 GMT

    Swann doesn't have a doosra, he has one that goes straight on which he gets a lot of left handers with. They think it will turn and leave it only to find it carries on to hit their stumps or pad. I think a doosra helps as it puts that extra doubt in the batsman's mind, I think it certainly helps in the short form of the game because it stops players teeing off against you but I don't think you need it in test matches. Swann isn't great in odi's and 20/20 because he doesn't have a doosra but he gets a lot of wickets in tests.

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | July 28, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    Bird? Bring him on. Aussie selectors clearly don't think he is among their 4 best seamers, and we've already seen off Pattinson.

  • POSTED BY on | July 28, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    Last Australian summer Bird was being talked about as automatic selection in the test side to play in England. Following his injury, the selectors seem to have very quickly forgotten his virtues. He is tall, is very accurate and does plenty off the deck and through the air to worry most batsmen. I think given opportunity, he will prove to be a most valuable member of this side. The one concerning thing about the spinners in the Australian side is their inability to finish off a batting lineup in the final days as the pitch most suits their bowling and begins to take spin. Lyon is a good bowler, but these days an off spinner needs a doosra to create that element of doubt in the batsmans mind...unfortunately Lyon doesn't have a doosra, this should see the English batsmen playing him quite comfortably. The bold selection would be to include Ahmed in the team with his legspin. Given the Poms historic struggles against legspin Ahmed may just be what the Aussies have been looking for.

  • POSTED BY CapitalMarkets on | July 30, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    If they can't call up Cummins, Bird is certainly the next choice to form a trio of seamers with Harris and Siddle. Personally, I thought Agar played correctly enough and had enough time against fast bowling to turn himself into an opener. It takes a very good delivery to get rid of him and he's been unlucky with two of his four dismissals. He also seemed to me to have both an excellent temperament and technique and he's not going to set the world alight as a slow left armer. If Watson turned himself into an opener somehow, Agar could certainly do it. There's certainly one vacancy at the top of the Australian order and the next three test matches will show us whether there is actually two vacancies to open. Old Trafford is famous for the rain and the weather forecast looks indifferent, so Australia should have the luxury of selecting for the future home series if they don't win. We deserve a bit more of an contest than the capitulation at Lords.

  • POSTED BY CapitalMarkets on | July 30, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    I like the look of what I've seen of Bird and completely agree that Harris and Bird should open the bowling and Siddle is the third seamer. Siddle is an underated cricketer; you don't get to be the number six fast bowler in the world by being a pie thrower and his "we can win it" mentality and all-out effort is exactly what Australia need. The real problem Australia have is the openers. Rogers is a stop gap and it puzzles me that they've picked him over Kaitich, who I remember as more limpet-like and difficult to dislodge. Watson has a faulty technique and shouldn't be opening the innings (personally I don't think he actually offers enough at test level, although having him as fourth seamer is useful, I suppose). Warner seems to have a suspect temperament (I mean as an opener, not as a night-clubber). He is too aggressive for me, which means a few big scores and lots of injudicious attacking play, but a lot of poor scores as well). I don't see a patient batsman with a solid technique.

  • POSTED BY Wefinishthis on | July 30, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    I completely agree with you Brydon, but you've underestimated the current Australian selector's incompetence, not to mention their ignorance of statistics. These are the same people who continue to overlook Australia's glaringly obvious spin solution Steve O'Keefe for absolutey no good reason at all. The four bowlers for the next test would obviously be O'Keefe, Siddle, Harris and Bird. However considering that they blundered by not sending O'Keefe over and the fact that neither Agar nor Lyon are good enough (in fact they are not much better than part-timers Clarke and Smith), our best bet would be to just pick 4 fast bowlers. For that I'd consider Siddle, Harris, Bird and either Faulkner or Sayers. I was disappointed in Pattinson - his first bad series really, but he deserves another chance when he recovers. Bird has to play because our only chance of winning would be for Bird and Harris to open the bowling and have Siddle come on first change.

  • POSTED BY milepost on | July 29, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    @2MikeGattings - you are joking right? Panesar can't get a game for his county and Taylor was let off twice. Bird will play. If you are going to tell jokes at least attempt to make them funny!

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | July 29, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul as an England fan I'd love it if you left out Siddle to accommodate Agar. Against the left-handers Agar's looked good, but the right-handers have been able to play him with relative ease. Bairstow got a good one at Trent Bridge, but he isn't a particularly tough man to get out at the moment. Full and straight does it.

    It's got to be Lyon and Smith as the spin options, surely? While a lot of people have speculated that Monty being called up means we'll play two spinners, I doubt that's going to happen. He's there to give us the option, or if Swann gets a niggle, but we will probably go in with one frontline spinner and have Root as a handy spin option without weakening our batting. Smith offers the same for you.

    The only question is Agar or Lyon as the frontline option. I'd go Lyon, he's a proven Test match performer and given how well Hauritz did in 2009, Lyon (who I think is a better bowler) should do well. But I could see them sticking with Agar.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    If the old trafford wicket is particularly dry it might be prudent to drop Siddle and play Australia's best 2 newball Bowlers in Bird and Harris and then the 2 spinners. That way Australia can still have maximum impact upfront but also have the bowlers to exploit the conditions later in the middle overs. This may mean that Watson may bowl a fair few overs which is not ideal for the impact it may have on his batting but we need to pull out all stops to win. The dillemma though is that Australia's newball bowlers need to go 4 wickets deep to create enough pressure for the spinners to really thrive and it might be a big ask to do with ony 2 specialist seamers. Alternatively Smith could be trusted as the second spinner and Siddle stays but if Agar is included as the second spinner; I feel it is Siddle that would have to stand aside.

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | July 29, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    I think Harris and Bird will be an excellent opening combination. They will make the batsmen play and can do a bit in the air and off the pitch. Going by what's avaiable in the squad, I would select Lyon ahead of Agar. The English will most likely continue to prepare drier pitches that will take turn and Lyon will be essential if Australia manage to win the toss and bat first. I would leave the batsmen unchanged.

  • POSTED BY salazar555 on | July 29, 2013, 1:52 GMT

    Swann doesn't have a doosra, he has one that goes straight on which he gets a lot of left handers with. They think it will turn and leave it only to find it carries on to hit their stumps or pad. I think a doosra helps as it puts that extra doubt in the batsman's mind, I think it certainly helps in the short form of the game because it stops players teeing off against you but I don't think you need it in test matches. Swann isn't great in odi's and 20/20 because he doesn't have a doosra but he gets a lot of wickets in tests.

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | July 28, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    Bird? Bring him on. Aussie selectors clearly don't think he is among their 4 best seamers, and we've already seen off Pattinson.

  • POSTED BY wch77 on | July 28, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    "The English batters punish bad bowling" - it's batsmen.

  • POSTED BY KhanMitch on | July 28, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    Rogers, Watson, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Bird, Lyon, Harris is fine for the Manchester test. Each has done enough to warrant their spot for the third test.

  • POSTED BY on | July 28, 2013, 15:54 GMT

    Andy Tychon,

    Yes, Graeme Swann takes a lot of wickets with that doosra!

    Seriously, htough. I kind of agree with what you are saying but I don't think an off spinner needs a doosra - they just need to give it a rip and spin it. A lot of off spinners seem more concerned with economy and "natural variation" and don't turn it enough to concern quality players of spin. I think that's because in T20 batsmen can't just wait for the bad ball, they have to go after every thing, so a spinner can just keep it tight and wait for a mistake. Tests are different.

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | July 28, 2013, 13:13 GMT

    Panesar the best bowler on display, Taylor the best batsman.

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | July 28, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    @VicPride why play a spinner? Because Kerrigan took 12 wickets the other day at Old Trafford, while Nathan McCullum also picked up a five-fer. Seamers picked up just 5 wickets in 3 innings. Spinners took 20. England are clearly considering a two spinner attack (although I doubt we'll go that far; Root's a decent spin option) by selecting Monty. But hey, why not go in with an all-pace attack on a pitch likely to take spin. Worked wonders for you at the Oval in 2009, after all.

    From what we saw at Old Trafford the other day it's almost certainly going to be a fairly flat wicket, bit of bounce, but nothing extravagant, and plenty of spin. Similar to Lord's, I suspect. If anything it'll probably spin more.

    Smith will bowl the odd beauty, but we saw at Lord's he can't sustain it over a long spell. Clarke's back means him bowling would be a big risk.

    You have to pick a spinner. And Lyon's not as bad as people make out, his record in India compares favourably with Swann's first tour there.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | July 28, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    Cannot understand why Bird and McKay were not automatic choices for the Ashes series in U.K. Bowlers like them concentrate on line and length, whereas Pattinson and Starc only care about pace pace pace. Here in U.K. the former will triumph every time over the latter.

  • POSTED BY PrasPunter on | July 28, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    concur with hmmmmm and VicPride - why pick a spinner when he is not going to pick wickets anyway ? Infact it puts extra pressure on the pacemen - they need to pick wickets, over-worked and end up getting injured. Lets not pick a spinner unless he is going to be penetrative enough !! How many matches have spinnners won for Aus since Warne's retirement - a Big Zero !!!

  • POSTED BY spindizzy on | July 28, 2013, 8:42 GMT

    They made the same mistake not picking Clark at the start of the last ashes tour. You don't need glamorous, high speed bowlers, you need those who can apply constant pressure. I sometimes get the feeling that if Glenn McGrath were to appear in his peak again the Australian selectors would find a reason not to chose him.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | July 28, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    He is knocking the door down to be selected. He is the logical choice.

  • POSTED BY on | July 28, 2013, 8:05 GMT

    @Mitty2: Lyon seems to be out of favour, to judge from the left-field selection of Agar at Trent Bridge, and then the unwise decision to persist with him at Lord's (which was basically forced on the selectors by his batting), and now the inclusion of yet another inexperienced spinner in the tour match (though Cowan has not bowled him yet). This is in spite of the fact that Lyon is our best spinner, and should play, an ordinary performance against Sussex - so far - notwithstanding.

  • POSTED BY phunny_game on | July 28, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    Bird and Starc argument is like choosing between McGrath and Nathan Bracken. A left armer at his best is obviously a good asset to have when at his best, but i think we have seen enough to figure out that Starc, though a great bowler in limited overs, still has some way to go in tests. The English batsman keep playing for hours and try to wear down the bowlers, that is there usual strategy. Aussies need someone who is relentless and keeps bowling tight lines, over after over, session after session. Saffers had two bowlers with immense control, and an enforcer in Morkel. Everybody knows the end result of that series.

    Agar is in the team for his bowling not his batting, and that is certainly something he has not done to good effect. So Lyon should come in for Agar... Atleast that's what common sense suggests. But you never know with this "new look" aussie side.

  • POSTED BY Freak7820 on | July 28, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    I just don't see how Jackson Bird continually gets overlooked. Mitchell Starc will be a good bowler in the future, once he understands when to bowl bounce and when to try and swing the ball...but at this stage, he's an ODI bowler..not a 5-day test bowler.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | July 28, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    I hope Bird can remain fit because he's key to Oz's bowling future success. He should be an automatic selection from now on. Cummins, Pattinson and he are the likely ideal three.

  • POSTED BY venkatesh018 on | July 28, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    Bird is the Graham Onions of Australia. Nagging and Consistent. Aussies will do well to pick him.

  • POSTED BY hmmmmm... on | July 28, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    4 seamers I think - there is no point playing spinners if they are not really spinners!

  • POSTED BY VicPride on | July 28, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    @Mitty2: I don't think we need to play a spinner. Why play a specialist spinner if he is so much worse than our top 4 pacemen? Only since Warne has Australia always played a spinner and it could be time to go with 4 pacemen and having Steve Smith as a part time spinner. My XI: 1. Chris Rogers 2. Ed Cowan/Dave Warner 3. Phil Hughes 4. Michael Clarke 5. Steve Smith 6. Brad Haddin 7. James Faulkner 8. Peter Siddle 9. James Pattinson/Mitchell Starc 10. Ryan Harris 11. Jackson Bird

  • POSTED BY inefekt on | July 28, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    If you bowl left arm fast but average 100 with the ball you'll still get picked ahead of a guy that bowls right arm fast but averages 20 because left armers 'offer variety'. It's the mantra of our selection panel. It's as perplexing as their decision to continually overlook the country's best performing spin bowler, Stephen O'Keefe. Maybe he's a good friend of Katich and sided with his mate in the Katich/Clarke feud? There has to be something going on behind the scenes, which in itself is utterly ridiculous.

  • POSTED BY badyon on | July 28, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    Just pick the best team and stick with it. Bowlers: Bird, Cummins, Harris, Siddle. Batsmen/all rounders: Warner, Watson, Khawaja, Clarke, Smith, Maxwell. Keeper: Paine.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | July 28, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    Most people are saying it's either Bird or Starc to replace Pattinson. I agree that Bird should come in, but I'm inclined to think that Starc should play too. .. maybe.

    Sids would have to drop out for that to happen because Harris should play if fit. I guess playing Starc might seem a bit reckless but this is my reasoning. .. Having 2 line and length bowlers is good, but having someone the batsmen think they can tee off against is a good attacking, if somewhat risky, strategy. How many times have you seen a good tight spell from one end create wickets for the relatively crap bowling at the other end. .. one problem I see is that I doubt England will fall for it. They haven't so far have they.

    I've nearly talked myself out of my own plan. I better stop while I'm still slightly ahead.

  • POSTED BY Aussie_Cricket on | July 28, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    With Harris back and Pattinson off injured Bird has to be included. Like MJ Starc is really good on his day but his off days can be really bad which can put a dent in the whole attack plan. Bird's bowling is all about consistency, pressure and the occasional ball that does something. He knows his game, his approach to bowling is disciplined and plays to a plan which this younger team really needs (apart from a batting lineup that can actually score above 300 in an innings). Watching Bird at the G against the Sri Lankan's it was clear he was a class above most of their batsmen, now provided he gets selected he just has to step up and show how good he really is against the English.

  • POSTED BY Moppa on | July 28, 2013, 1:49 GMT

    @Mitty2/John Verdal/Big_Maxy, no doubt the selectors have been seduced by Starc's potential to bowl unplayable deliveries, white ball performances and the variety he brings to the attack. Whilst I can see the temptation and potential with Starc, and @Mitty2 I don't feel that stats don't tell the whole story, I agree with you three and felt (at the time) that Bird should have played at Trent Bridge and am sure now he will play at Old Trafford. Against a disciplined batting line up like England you have to be able to sustain pressure and Bird is incomparably better than Starc at that. Irrespective of the treatment by Hamilton-Brown, Lyon still comes in for Agar too - he also has experience at maintaining pressure and, as yesterday showed, at regaining control after an initial assault (he has managed this several times at Test level, though I can't recall the precise innings).

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | July 28, 2013, 0:56 GMT

    Bird will play the third test. He is in the mould of McGrath and Stuart and will probably have success in England. It's the spinner who is the problem, to be honest I don't have a problem selecting 4 pace bowlers, were effectively going in with 3 as the spinner doesn't do much.

  • POSTED BY on | July 28, 2013, 0:52 GMT

    I have no idea how Bird is not first picked every test. He hits line and length like no other Australian fast bowler over the past three years. The wickets he doesn't take are collected due to his pressure by the bowler at the other end.

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | July 28, 2013, 0:06 GMT

    @Mitty2 Got to be Lyon, hasn't it? Although, I suspect your wonderful selectors may have broken him. They really are amazing at giving a spin bowler the confidence to go on and thrive. Did a bang up job with Hauritz and now Lyon.

    Worryingly they actually have a talent on their hands with Agar (although I do think he's still raw for Test cricket and may actually be a better bet for the ODI side right now, where his economical repeatable action and variation can be an asset but the pressure isn't on him to bowl a side out) and you just have to hope they handle him better.

    Agar's a better bowler than your current ODI spinner, Xavier Doherty, and with Lyon seen as a Test specialist that's a great way to groom them both. At 19, Agar has all the time in the world to mature and get better. In the ODI side his batting can help to balance the side better, so you can bat deep and still have a quality spinner.

    I reckon if you're patient with him, he could be truly world class in a few years.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 27, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    If Bird's fit enough to bowl the long spells that being in the same side as Harris entails, then he certainly deserves a try. Keeping a consistent line and length is critical in test cricket because bad balls get punished.is numbers are outstanding and it sounds as though he's been the best bowler in this game.

  • POSTED BY on | July 27, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    I agree, I think Jackson Bird looks a great prospect for Australia who already seems to have a pretty good temperament for the highest level. Australia should pick him.

    @Mitty2: I understand your points about Starc but I think Cricket Australia are bearing in mind that we have had our struggles against left-arm seamers in the past, Andrew Strauss springs to mind, although our right-handers have also had their issues.

    Regarding your spinner, I would recommend Nathan Lyon or Steve O'Keefe ahead of Fawad Ahmed or Ashton Agar, who doesn't seem to get enough revolutions on the ball. Do you agree?

  • POSTED BY Mitty2 on | July 27, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    How he wasn't selected for the first test still baffles me. On what basis is Starc a better bowler than Bird? On what basis did Starc deserve selection over Bird? The fact that Bird averages under 20 in FC and his two tests (too small a sample yes) and that Starc averages OVER 30 in both FC and tests highlights the superiority of Bird's bowling. But no... Starc is better because he's left handed... Right.

    I remember at the SCG test when the pitch was at its flattest and Karunaratne was batting comfortably and Bird came on with a controlled spell of reverse swing and eventually got him with a surprising catch from Matty Wade. Bird at the 'G on boxing day even made MJ look a much better bowler than he actually is by sustaining pressure at the other end and letting MJ bowl freely. I was excited to see how he'd go in India and although it's probably fortunate that he got injured, Starc averaged 100 in that series...

    Bird/Siddle/Harris is our best pace trio, but then who's the spinner?

  • POSTED BY on | July 27, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    Jackson bird bowls at a good pace, he bowls good line and length, he makes the batsmen play, he bowls fuller delivery, he picks wickets with the new ball and he also keeps the run rate down. Jackson bird > Mitchell starc.

  • POSTED BY Big_Maxy_Walker on | July 27, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    He should have been there for the first test. We don't have to have a left armer. Siddle, Harris, Bird is a good attack. One that will make the batsmen play unlike Pattinson and Starc with their wide and wayward bowling.

  • POSTED BY Big_Maxy_Walker on | July 27, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    He should have been there for the first test. We don't have to have a left armer. Siddle, Harris, Bird is a good attack. One that will make the batsmen play unlike Pattinson and Starc with their wide and wayward bowling.

  • POSTED BY on | July 27, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    Jackson bird bowls at a good pace, he bowls good line and length, he makes the batsmen play, he bowls fuller delivery, he picks wickets with the new ball and he also keeps the run rate down. Jackson bird > Mitchell starc.

  • POSTED BY Mitty2 on | July 27, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    How he wasn't selected for the first test still baffles me. On what basis is Starc a better bowler than Bird? On what basis did Starc deserve selection over Bird? The fact that Bird averages under 20 in FC and his two tests (too small a sample yes) and that Starc averages OVER 30 in both FC and tests highlights the superiority of Bird's bowling. But no... Starc is better because he's left handed... Right.

    I remember at the SCG test when the pitch was at its flattest and Karunaratne was batting comfortably and Bird came on with a controlled spell of reverse swing and eventually got him with a surprising catch from Matty Wade. Bird at the 'G on boxing day even made MJ look a much better bowler than he actually is by sustaining pressure at the other end and letting MJ bowl freely. I was excited to see how he'd go in India and although it's probably fortunate that he got injured, Starc averaged 100 in that series...

    Bird/Siddle/Harris is our best pace trio, but then who's the spinner?

  • POSTED BY on | July 27, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    I agree, I think Jackson Bird looks a great prospect for Australia who already seems to have a pretty good temperament for the highest level. Australia should pick him.

    @Mitty2: I understand your points about Starc but I think Cricket Australia are bearing in mind that we have had our struggles against left-arm seamers in the past, Andrew Strauss springs to mind, although our right-handers have also had their issues.

    Regarding your spinner, I would recommend Nathan Lyon or Steve O'Keefe ahead of Fawad Ahmed or Ashton Agar, who doesn't seem to get enough revolutions on the ball. Do you agree?

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 27, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    If Bird's fit enough to bowl the long spells that being in the same side as Harris entails, then he certainly deserves a try. Keeping a consistent line and length is critical in test cricket because bad balls get punished.is numbers are outstanding and it sounds as though he's been the best bowler in this game.

  • POSTED BY H_Z_O on | July 28, 2013, 0:06 GMT

    @Mitty2 Got to be Lyon, hasn't it? Although, I suspect your wonderful selectors may have broken him. They really are amazing at giving a spin bowler the confidence to go on and thrive. Did a bang up job with Hauritz and now Lyon.

    Worryingly they actually have a talent on their hands with Agar (although I do think he's still raw for Test cricket and may actually be a better bet for the ODI side right now, where his economical repeatable action and variation can be an asset but the pressure isn't on him to bowl a side out) and you just have to hope they handle him better.

    Agar's a better bowler than your current ODI spinner, Xavier Doherty, and with Lyon seen as a Test specialist that's a great way to groom them both. At 19, Agar has all the time in the world to mature and get better. In the ODI side his batting can help to balance the side better, so you can bat deep and still have a quality spinner.

    I reckon if you're patient with him, he could be truly world class in a few years.

  • POSTED BY on | July 28, 2013, 0:52 GMT

    I have no idea how Bird is not first picked every test. He hits line and length like no other Australian fast bowler over the past three years. The wickets he doesn't take are collected due to his pressure by the bowler at the other end.

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | July 28, 2013, 0:56 GMT

    Bird will play the third test. He is in the mould of McGrath and Stuart and will probably have success in England. It's the spinner who is the problem, to be honest I don't have a problem selecting 4 pace bowlers, were effectively going in with 3 as the spinner doesn't do much.

  • POSTED BY Moppa on | July 28, 2013, 1:49 GMT

    @Mitty2/John Verdal/Big_Maxy, no doubt the selectors have been seduced by Starc's potential to bowl unplayable deliveries, white ball performances and the variety he brings to the attack. Whilst I can see the temptation and potential with Starc, and @Mitty2 I don't feel that stats don't tell the whole story, I agree with you three and felt (at the time) that Bird should have played at Trent Bridge and am sure now he will play at Old Trafford. Against a disciplined batting line up like England you have to be able to sustain pressure and Bird is incomparably better than Starc at that. Irrespective of the treatment by Hamilton-Brown, Lyon still comes in for Agar too - he also has experience at maintaining pressure and, as yesterday showed, at regaining control after an initial assault (he has managed this several times at Test level, though I can't recall the precise innings).

  • POSTED BY Aussie_Cricket on | July 28, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    With Harris back and Pattinson off injured Bird has to be included. Like MJ Starc is really good on his day but his off days can be really bad which can put a dent in the whole attack plan. Bird's bowling is all about consistency, pressure and the occasional ball that does something. He knows his game, his approach to bowling is disciplined and plays to a plan which this younger team really needs (apart from a batting lineup that can actually score above 300 in an innings). Watching Bird at the G against the Sri Lankan's it was clear he was a class above most of their batsmen, now provided he gets selected he just has to step up and show how good he really is against the English.