Sydney: Australian fast bowler Jackson Bird has reportedly been tipped as a favourite to replace the injured James Pattinson in Thursday`s third Ashes Test at Old Trafford.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, although Bird was flown to Australia from India in March with stress fractures in his back, his disciplined line and length during the tour match against Sussex has firmed him as favourite to replace Pattinson.
The report further said that in a virtual bowl-off for Pattinson`s vacant place in Manchester, Bird (2-33) stood out with a pair of top-order wickets on the rain-affected second day at Sussex, and would have had a third if not for a dropped catch.
The report said that Bird`s precision in Sussex was another sign that his neat and nagging style is suited to English conditions, although Bird said that he did not think that he was going to be fit enough in time for the tour.
However, the right-arm quick expressed his satisfaction at being a part of the Ashes tour, saying that it was a bonus for him to be in England and an added plus if he plays well against Sussex, even though the report said that he did not enjoy an overly successful time on the Ashes reconnaissance mission of the Australia A tour of England a year ago.
Stating that he had learnt a lot from that experience, Bird admitted that he was probably impatient when he came to England last year, adding that although he was expecting to see the Duke ball move around in England last year, it failed to do that.
Stating that England batsmen punish bad bowling when the wickets are flat, Bird also said that he came over to England aware that he had to work hard on his lines and lengths and build pressure, especially when the sun is out, adding that he felt that he has been able to do that so far.
Although Bird has closely watched the havoc England`s swing bowling guru James Anderson has been able to wreak on Australia`s batsmen in this series, he, however, insisted that he is a different kind of bowler, adding that he does not model his game on Anderson.
However, Bird praised Anderson, saying that he has bowled outstandingly in the last two Tests by using the crease well, getting good swing, adding that he is a player to look up to.