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Jackson Bird


Bird swoops for Australia in Worcester

Jackson Bird says his nagging accuracy can provide the perfect foil for the all-out attack of fast bowling comrades James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc in the first Ashes Test starting next Wednesday at Trent Bridge.

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Bird overcame a lifeless pitch at New Road to take 4-38 against Worcestershire to swoop into contention to face England.

At stumps on day two, Worcestershire were 7-246, trailing by 150 on the first innings after the Australians earlier declared at 4-396.

Pattinson and Starc are near certain to lead the attack in Nottingham, so it appears Bird is in a three-way battle with Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris for the third position.

On his first innings performance, Bird certainly outshone Harris (0-41), and in a 19-ball burst took 4-4.

"I suppose I give them something a little bit different," Bird said.

"Guys like Starc and Siddle and Patto bowl quite fast, swing the ball a little bit, and I suppose I don't really swing it that much.

"Those guys can go for a few runs because they're such attacking bowlers.

"I just tend to try to not go for any runs. It think it gives them something different but in saying that there's a good group of fast bowlers in the squad."

Bird said he didn't approach the innings as a 'bowl-off' against Harris, and denied his last-start Test against Sri Lanka in Sydney in January, where he was man-of-the-match, put him in the box seat for selection.

However, the 26-year-old said making a booming start to his career (11 wickets at 16.18) at the pressure-cooker environments of the MCG and SCG held him in good stead should he be thrown into the cauldron of an Ashes Test.

"Definitely. There's been a lot of hype over this Ashes series. I'm just looking forward to it if I get the chance," said Bird, who has fully recovered from stress fractures he'd suffered in India.

Bird also came to the UK last year with the Australia A squad and misjudged how to handle English conditions.

But having that experience under his belt, coupled with his knowledge of English-esque Bellerive Oval in Hobart, Bird says he knows how to bowl to be effective.

"I came over here last year just thinking I was going to swing and seam blokes out from ball one and I found out quickly that the wickets are pretty flat," he said.

"It's generally when the overhead conditions are in your favour that the ball tends to move around and I suppose I went searching for wickets. I had to rein that in pretty quickly and go back to what serves me best."

Ashton Agar took two wickets on day two and James Faulkner one, but both are slim chances of playing in the first Test.

Steve Smith put his hand up to bat at No.6 at Trent Bridge, with a superb 68 not out.

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