Warne tips Jackson Bird for Test debut on Boxing Day
Johannesburg: Legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne has tipped Jackson Bird over making his Test debut on Boxing Day because he reckons Australia won`t risk bowling two erratic left-armers.
Bird was called into the squad to replace the injured Ben Hilfenhaus, but many thought he would carry the drinks against Sri Lanka.
However, his Melbourne Stars captain expects the angular Bird, who`s enjoyed tremendous state level success on the MCG, will take the new ball in the second Test, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
"I think the two left-armers - Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson - both leak runs. They both can take wickets, but they both go for a few too many runs,” Warne said.
"For (Australian captain) Michael Clarke, he`ll want a bit of control and I think Jackson Bird ... knows the conditions well and he bowls the perfect length for the MCG wicket,” he added.
According to the paper, Starc appears a lock alongside Peter Siddle after the pair bowled Australia to a last-day victory in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Hobart this week, with Johnson 12th man after performing well against South Africa in Perth.
But Warne said Bird, who has missed the past two Stars games for "team make-up" reasons, would push past at least one of the lefties in the pecking order.
"He`ll take the new rock. I think he`s got a great temperament, he`ll fit in there fine. I`m sure he`ll be a little bit nervous and so you should be ... but he`ll do a great job,” he said. "Bird has been fantastic for (the Stars).
He opened the bowling in our first game and has been bowling extremely well. I think he`ll get the nod and I think he`ll open the bowling, which will be a huge thrill for him, be great for the Stars to have another player playing for Australia and it will be a good ``Chrissy`` present,” he added.