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Jackson rewarded for wickets

December 19, 2012 11:44:19 UK

Jackson Bird has no concerns over his ability to step up to Test level if he gets the nod for Australia's clash with Sri Lanka at the MCG.

The Tasmania seamer has been named in a 13-man squad for the second Test, after Ben Hilfenhaus was ruled out due to a side strain.

The 26-year-old has earned his spot with a consistent wicket-taking record since moving to Tasmania from NSW 18 months ago.

He has taken 80 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 17.5, and has an excellent record at the MCG.

Bird snared 10-96 at the ground against Victoria on his Shield debut in November last year, then backed it up with figures of 4-73 against the Bushrangers in October in a weather-affected match.

"I definitely do enjoy playing here," Bird said. "The MCG is a great place to play. 

"There's always a little bit in the wicket for the fast bowlers. Generally, if you put the ball in the right areas enough and you hit the wicket and present the seam, you will get enough out of it.

"It's a good contest between bat and ball. I have really enjoyed it the last couple of times I have played here.

"It depends what the selectors want to do in terms of playing two left-armers (Starc and Johnson) or one left-armer. 

"I guess it will be the best 11 players on the day and if I get that chance, hopefully I can repay the faith that the selectors have shown in me." Bird has been named alongside fellow quicks Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson for the Melbourne clash.

"I am very excited to get the call-up," he said.

"I have been in communication with the selectors for the last couple of Test matches. Unfortunately when Ben went down, I thought I might be a chance. Luckily enough, I got the call.

"I didn't have a very good sleep last night (after the squad was named). The phone was ringing non-stop but it would be a pretty amazing dream to debut on Boxing Day at the MCG so I'm looking forward to it if I get the chance."

Australia are likely to play three fast bowlers at the MCG, with Bird likely to battle it out with

Johnson for one place and both Siddle and Starc set to start.

Australia are 1.006 to win the Test series, with Sri Lanka priced at 41.00.

Australia are 1213.00 to win the 2014 Twenty20 World Cup.

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