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Bird biding time for national honours
By David Beniuk
19:10 AEST Tue Nov 27 2012

The Sheffield Shield's reigning player of the year and leading wicket-taker Jackson Bird admits to a pang of disappointment at missing out on Australia's squad for the third Test against South Africa.

Bird was named man of the match in Tasmania's crushing innings and 118-run win over Western Australia at Bellerive following his devastating 6-25 in the Warriors' first dig of 67.

Figures of 2-61 in the second innings have helped him to the top of the Shield's leading wicket-takers list with 27 at an average of 20.55.

It comes after a stunning debut season in which he collected 53 scalps at 16.

But the 25-year-old was not among three new pacemen - Mitchell Johnson, John Hastings and Josh Hazlewood - called into Australia's 14-man squad for the WACA.

"(I was) a little bit disappointed but they've picked a pretty strong squad," he told reporters.

"It's always good to be in contention but it's not the end of the world.

"I'm just happy that I've been taking wickets again for Tassie, that we're back in the winners' circle.

"If I can keep putting performances like I have this week on the board I can't be too far away."

Bird's nagging fast-medium style is considered suited to the conditions the Australians will face on next year's Ashes tour.

Tigers coach Tim Coyle said that was a realistic goal for the NSW product.

"It is a matter of continuing to do what he's doing, stack up the numbers and continue to improve and I'm sure he'll get an opportunity at some stage," Coyle said.

"I don't think he's far off at all. He's got some really good skills, his control has come back, particularly in this game."

The Warriors never recovered from their skittling on day one and then finding themselves 381 in arrears of the home side's 448.

Youngster Sam Whiteman (96) and skipper Adam Voges (94no) fought hard on day three but WA lost 8-72 when Whiteman fell at 3-191 to be all out for 263 in their second innings.

New coach Justin Langer said his side needed to improve against the new ball and develop some confidence.

"There's some glaring areas we need to improve on and that's a good challenge," Langer said.

"I have been here for a week or so now and the fact that they seem so obvious is either a really bad thing or a really good thing.

"I'm not sure yet.

"There's some basic technique stuff we need to get better at and maybe intent, maybe confidence."


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