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Jackson Bird


Bird the all-round package for third Test

Former Tasmanian coach Tim Coyle says Jackson Bird has developed into an all-round fast bowling package ready for a Test cricket return in the Ashes.

Bird is competing with Mitchell Starc for the final place in the Australian attack for the third Test at Old Trafford starting on Thursday.

The 26-year-old took two wickets in Australia's tour match against Sussex at Hove and, in his better spells, he constantly attacked the batsmen's defences and dried up the runs.

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Coyle identified Bird's talents when the seamer was languishing in Sydney grade cricket, unable to crack it with NSW.

He says Bird won't be overawed by an Ashes call-up and has the skills to thrive in English conditions.

"Maybe a bit nervy early, if and when he plays ... but I think he's showed the conditions will suit him," Coyle told AAP.

"The Dukes ball will suit him as well and I think he'll be a tough proposition for the English batsmen.

"His biggest asset to me is he really challenges the batsmen's defence a high percentage of the time.

"He makes them play a lot around leg stump, threatens to hit the legs, threatens to hit the stumps.

"That control factor, bit of seam movement, a little bit of swing when the ball ... he's certainly a better all-round package now that he can bowl with the ball new, bowl with the ball old and bowl to the conditions that suit."

Bird says selectors should know what they'll get from him.

"I just try and stand the seam up and, if I hit the right length, I tend to swing the ball a little bit," he said.

"My economy is one of my strengths as well."

In Bird's first year at Tasmania in 2011-12, he topped the Sheffield Shield wicket-taking tally and, by the following summer, he made his Test debut.

Bird averages 16 with the ball from two Tests and was man-of-the-match in his last start against Sri Lanka at the SCG.

But a back injury cut his India tour short and he was overlooked for the first two Ashes Tests.

He was Australia's best bowler in the Worcestershire tour match leading into the first Test, and Ryan Harris only just edged him out of a start for the second Test at Lord's.

Coyle said if Bird is selected, he might have a slight advantage early in that English batsmen have seen very little of him.

"But they learn pretty quick. And they will have done plenty of research," he said.

"If you've got a new bowler, there's obviously some time to get your head around it.

"But if the ball is in the right area enough and there's some swing and seam that's challenging that off stump, it doesn't matter how much information you have - it's still a real battle."

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Jackson Bird

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