Jackson Bird will make his Test debut for Australia against Sri Lanka in Melbourne

Last Updated: 26/12/12 9:06am

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Australia coach Mickey Arthur has confirmed Jackson Bird will make his debut in the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka.

Bird, who has taken 80 wickets in 14 matches for Tasmania, gets the nod ahead of Mitchell Starc for the clash at the MCG.

Starc is rested after he took 5-63 in the second innings of Australia'a first Test victory in Hobart.

"We've got a lot of faith in Jackson," said Arthur. "At the start of the summer we had a list of bowlers that we wanted to keep fresh and ready to go and Jackson was one of them.

"He was one of them for the simple reason that he brings everything that we want... pace, he brings swing and consistency.

"He's done it all. We've got no issues about throwing the new ball to him."

Australia captain Michael Clarke is also set to play after making good progress in his rehab from a hamstring injury.

"He's clearly improving," Arthur said. "He went far better today than he did yesterday. If I was a betting man I'd bet on Michael Clarke leading the team out on Boxing Day.

"It will be a consultation between Michael and (team physio) Alex (Kountouris)."

Clarke will be given as much time as possible to prove his recovery but, should he be ruled out, Usman Khawaja would come into the team and Shane Watson take over the captaincy.

Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara needs 40 runs to become the 11th batsman to reach 10,000 Test runs.

"We would like (Sangakkara) to get 100 this time. It's a very special game for us," said Sri Lanka vice captain Angelo Mathews ahead of side's first Boxing Day Test for 17 years.

Australia squad: Michael Clarke (capt), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Usman Khawaja, Matt Wade (wkt), Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird

Sri Lanka squad: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Pradeep, Rangana Herath, Prasanna Jayawardene (wkt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Angelo Mathews, Tharanga Paranavitana, Dhammika Prasad, Suraj Randiv, Thilan Samaraweera, Kumar Sangakkara, Chanaka Welegedara


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