Australia Call Up Bird And Recall Khawaja For Second Test

Australia Call Up Bird And Recall Khawaja For Second Test
Australia Call Up Bird And Recall Khawaja For Second Test
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Australia have called up uncapped fast bowler Jackson Bird and recalled Usman Khawaja to cover for injuries ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Melbourne.

Ben Hilfenhaus has been ruled out with a side strain and although captain Michael Clarke is in the squad, a hamstring strain picked up in the opening Test in Hobart, means his participation at the M.C.G is in doubt.

Shane Watson is set to captain the side should Clarke miss out for the match, with bet365 now making Australia 1/20 to win the series. Sri Lanka are 33/1 and the draw is 12/1 following Australia's 137-run win in the opening match.

More: click here to listen to Jackson Bird interviewed by the press at the MCG

26-year-old Tasmanian Bird has taken 87 wickets in 17 first-class matches at an average of 19.72 which has attracted the selectors' attention while Khawaja lost out to Phillip Hughes in the battle to replace Ricky Ponting at number three in the order.

He has scored 438 runs in first-class cricket this season with a century and three half-centuries. In six Tests, he has scored 263 runs at 29.22 with a top score of 65.

"Ben Hilfenhaus was not considered for selection due to injury and he has been replaced by his Tasmanian team-mate Jackson Bird," National Selector John Inverarity said.

"Jackson’s outstanding first-class figures of 87 wickets at 19.72 from 17 matches have been rewarded with his inclusion in the squad. He is a tall athletic opening bowler who bowls a consistent line and length and keeps running in all day.

"Michael Clarke is in doubt due to the injury he sustained whilst batting on the fourth day of the First Vodafone Test. Usman Khawaja comes into the squad as cover for Michael.

"Usman turns 26 today, just one week younger than Jackson Bird,  and he has been in good form this season. He has played especially well on occasions when conditions for batting have been very difficult.

"If Michael is not able to take his place in the side then Shane Watson will captain the team. Shane acquitted himself well when he deputised for Michael in the ODI series in the Caribbean earlier this year in March," he added.

Australia Test squad: Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson (vice-captain), Jackson Bird, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner

© Cricket World 2012

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