Bird is the word for new-look Australia in Adelaide
- Paceman Bird to swoop at Adelaide Oval
- Smith enthused by 'energy' of young rookies
ADELAIDE: Jackson Bird has edged out uncapped fast bowler Chadd Sayers for a place in Australia's pace attack for the third and final test against South Africa in Adelaide, captain Steve Smith said on Wednesday.
Bird, capped five times but overlooked in favour of debutant Joe Mennie for the second test defeat in Hobart, joins fellow seamers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood in a raw team featuring three new batsmen for the day-night match.
Opener Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson will all play their first tests at Adelaide Oval after selectors wielded the axe following the Hobart humiliation, which gave South Africa an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Bird will feel relieved, having been the victim of an unusual selection decision for Hobart.
Then-chairman of selectors Rod Marsh said the paceman's tail-end batting, rather than his bowling, stood against his inclusion.
Local media castigated Marsh for that rationale and the former test wicketkeeper promptly resigned amid the acrimony that followed Australia's innings and 80-run humiliation at Bellerive Oval last week.
"(Bird) took five-for (a five-wicket haul) in the last test match he played, he's bowled well with the pink ball in the (Sheffield) Shield games that he's played, bowled well in the nets out the back and deserves an opportunity," Smith said at a media conference on Wednesday.
"Unlucky for Chadd missing out on his home ground."
Renshaw, a Yorkshire-born 20-year-old raised in New Zealand, will partner David Warner at the top, with Victoria wicketkeeper-batsman Peter Handscomb and left-hander Nic Maddinson fifth and sixth in the order.
The trio deposed Joe Burns, Adam Voges and Callum Ferguson, who all failed at Hobart, but the rookies' records in first-class cricket have been solid, rather than outstanding.
Hard-hitting New South Wales batsman Maddinson has played two Twenty20 internationals for Australia but brings a modest average of 37.65 in 59 first-class games.
Smith backed his state team mate as a player who could "tear any attack apart" on his day.
"I haven't seen a heap of him playing in the last couple of years but what I have seen he's playing the ball a lot later, a lot more under his eyes, which is a very good start," he said.
The abrasive Matthew Wade, recalled in place of wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, is the fifth change from the 11 that crumbled in Hobart.
"I'm happy with the team that I've got," Smith said.
"This series has been disappointing the way it has gone for us but I'm actually really excited about the young guys coming into the group.
"I've almost felt a little shift over the last few days in attitude and energy from what the new guys have brought in."