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Warne says Bird for Boxing Day

By AAP .
20 December 2012 11:28AM EST

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SHANE Warne expects Jackson Bird to make his Test debut on Boxing Day, predicting Australia's skipper Michael Clarke won't want two run-leaking left-armers.

With Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc having bowled Australia to victory over Sri Lanka in the first Test in Hobart, it's seemingly a battle between Bird and Mitchell Johnson to replace the injured Ben Hilfenhaus as the third paceman.

Australia's greatest Test wicket-taker Warne said the bowling style of Tasmania's Bird, who has excelled in the Sheffield Shield this season and last, was ideally suited to the MCG.

A close friend of Clarke, Warne said the Australia captain was unlikely to want both Starc and Johnson in his team given their capacity to mix wicket-taking balls with too many loose deliveries.

"I think (Bird) will open the bowling on Boxing Day," Warne told reporters at the MCG on Thursday.

"I don't think Australia will go with two left-armers.

"I think Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson both leak runs.

"They can both take wickets but they both go for a few too many runs.

"For Michael Clarke, he'll want to have a little bit of control."

Bird's record of 14 wickets at 12.07 in two Shield games at the MCG also counts in his favour.

"I think someone like Jackson Bird bowling at the MCG, he knows the conditions well, he bowls a perfect length for the MCG wicket," Warne said.

"I think he'll get the nod and I think he'll open the bowling, which will be a huge thrill for him ... it will be a good Chrissy present."

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