Bird Enhances Test Claims With Four Wickets
Australians 396-4d (Smith 68no) v
Worcestershire 246-7 (Bird 4-38)
Tour Match, New Road, day two
Day One Report
Nick Compton and Daryl Mitchell made the Australian bowlers toil for a while on the second day of their tour match in Worcester. However, Jackson Bird broke a third-wicket stand of 92 and proceeded to take three more wickets as the home side closed on 246 for seven in reply to the tourists’ 396 for four declared.
The Australians began day two on 340 for four in their first innings and they batted on long enough to allow Steve Smith to make a fluent 68 off only 96 balls. His main rival for a middle-order spot, Phil Hughes, struggled a little in making an unbeaten 19 off 49 balls against his former team-mates.
Worcestershire then began ponderously in their reply as openers Matthew Pardoe and Compton, neither renowned for their aggressive approach to batting, added 48 in over 19 overs. James Faulkner struck first, removing Pardoe for 16, with Moeen Ali only making 10 before handing Ashton Agar a wicket to make it 88 for two.
Compton and captain Mitchell then came to the fore. The former has been in good touch ever since being told by England that he was no longer in their first-choice line-up and hit his second fifty in as many matches against the tourists. Mitchell, though, was the more aggressive of the two and made 65 off only 88 balls.
Compton’s demise at the hands of Bird triggered an Australian fightback as the home side lost four wickets for seven runs, all of them to Bird. Bird has very much an outside chance of starting at Trent Bridge in a week’s time and is seen as too similar a bowler to Peter Siddle for them both to play in the same eleven. However, he did his case for inclusion no harm here and bowled with typical accuracy.
Ben Cox and Gareth Andrew then combined to prevent a total Worcestershire collapse, adding 38 for the seventh-wicket. Cox became Agar’s second victim before stumps, but Andrew remains and is unbeaten on 24 with Jack Shantry for company on six.