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Bird


Bird confident second time in England

Australia have invested 12 months of planning into the coming Ashes series and fast bowler Jackson Bird believes he can be a beneficiary.

Bird and Ryan Harris made their return to bowling from long injury lay-offs in Australia A's three-day match against Gloucestershire on Friday as the race for positions in the Ashes attack heats up.

Last year Australia A also travelled to the UK for a tour designed at giving players on the periphery a taste of English conditions, with Bird among the party.

The 26-year-old admits he got overly excited by the reputation of England being a paradise for swing bowling, and before it was too late realised he was trying too hard.

But after easing his way back carefully from a back problem he suffered in India earlier this year, Bird is confident Australia can see the advantages of a lesson learned.

"I didn't bowl as well as I would have liked last year," Bird said.

"When I first came over here I was more worried about the movement, trying to swing the ball and trying to get that sideways movement as well.

"I learned pretty quickly you've got to be very strict on your line and length.

"If I put the ball in the right area, I tend to swing the ball anyway."

Bird bowled 10 overs with three maidens on day one and looked dangerous without taking a wicket.

He says the injury suffered in India was disappointing in the sense it was the first time he's broken down in six years, but was happy it gave him enough time to get over some other niggles and still be available for the Ashes.

The entire Australian fast bowling attack minus Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner have been touring with Australia A and Bird says the camaraderie and belief has grown amongst a group who fancy themselves against England's experienced top order.

Maddinson was simply outstanding on day one, crunching 22 boundaries and nine sixes on his way to 181 from 143 balls.

In the last match against Ireland Maddinson pocketed 113 from 63.

Jordan Silk scored 41 against Gloucestershire in a 103-run opening stand with Maddinson, before Test No.3 Phil Hughes spent 82 minutes at the crease for a useful 47 - although he wouldn't have enjoyed edging to the keeper attempting to cut.

Maddinson needs more consistency in his game, but his incredible striking is drawing him closer to Test consideration.

"That's two games in a row he's batted like that. He's one of the cleanest strikers going around in Australian cricket," said Bird.

"I spent a lot of time with him up at the Academy last year during the winter and every ball he hit me over cover for four, which was pretty frustrating. I just ended up having to bowl short at him."

At stumps on day one, Gloucestershire were 5-104 trailing by 227 runs, with South Australian Chadd Sayers taking three wickets for Australia A.

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