Bird ousts Pattinson for spot in first Test


Jackson Bird will return to the Test arena for the first time since 2013 after he was picked ahead of fellow quick James Pattinson for Australia's opening match against Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand.

Bird has not played a Test for Australia since his Ashes cameo almost three years ago, but the 29-year-old is set to return from the international wilderness in Wellington on Friday after selectors opted against risking Pattinson.

Pattinson has been hampered by shin soreness since the end of the third Test against West Indies in January, which has paved the way for Bird, who has claimed 25 wickets in six Sheffield Shield matches this season, as he prepares to add to his three five-day appearances.

"The selectors aren't 100 percent sure whether [Pattinson] would get through this first Test match," captain Steve Smith told reporters on Thursday. "So that decision was made.

"I think Jackson Bird has been bowling extremely well. I saw him for the first time in the nets yesterday and I thought he bowled extremely well

"I'm really happy with the XI we've picked and hopefully we can have a successful week."

Australia's batting line-up remains unchanged, while paceman Peter Siddle returns to the bowling attack after sitting out the SCG Test due to an ankle injury.


Australia team in full: 

David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (captain), Adam Voges, Mitch Marsh, Peter Nevill, Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird