Bird keen to see Hampshire soar after even start

Mason Crane impressed Jackson Bird. Picture: Neil Marshall
Mason Crane impressed Jackson Bird. Picture: Neil Marshall
George Bailey is bowled for a duck against Essex. Picture: Neil Marshall

Hampshire fall to Essex loss

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Jackson Bird insisted it was honours even after the first day of Hampshire’s County Championship showdown with Durham.

The Australian pace bowler grabbed three wickets as the visitors closed on 278 for six at the Ageas Bowl.

Having had Durham wobbling on 91 for four, Hampshire would have hoped to kick on and bowl their rivals out cheaply.

Michael Richardson (91) and Gordon Muchall (85 not out) had other ideas, though, and got their side firmly back on track.

But Bird, who returned to bag two wickets in two deliveries in the final session, reckons his side are firmly in the game as they scrap for their lives at the foot of the division one table.

The seamer, who ended the day with figures of three for 80, said: ‘I think it was a pretty even day.

‘We started well in the morning session.

‘We got a bit out of the surface with the new ball and got a few early wickets and then the wicket flattened out once the ball got softer.

‘Muchall and Richardson batted quite well in the afternoon session and then it was good to get those wickets late in the day.’

Despite his wickets, Bird reckons he is not yet back to his best following his neck and shoulder injuries.

He was, however, very impressed with spinners Liam Dawson and debutant Mason Crane, who got through 40 overs on day one.

And he has backed them to have a bigger impact the longer the game goes on.

Bird said: ‘I’m a lot more consistent than when I started a couple of weeks ago but there are still a few inconsistencies in overs in there which is frustrating to me.

‘My economy rate is one of my strengths I think, so to keep going at four-an-over is pretty frustrating.

‘But if I’m taking a few wickets here and there it makes up for it.

‘It is pretty dry but there is a little bit of grass in the centre of the wicket for the seamers with the new ball.

‘Our spinners bowled quite well, so later in the day I think they will come into the game even more.

‘Mason bowled well on debut and it’s good to have Dawson back from Essex.

‘It was nice to see him get a wicket yesterday.

‘Hopefully we can finish them off pretty quickly this morning and our openers can get into their work.’

Bird also revealed he had given his team-mates a bit of a ribbing after the Aussies had blown England away at Lord’s to square the Ashes at 1-1.

‘I’ve been chirping the boys up in the changing room,’ he said.

‘It was good to see the boys get a win at Lord’s and it makes the series interesting.

‘It’s going to be a cracking series and I might have to sit up in the stands at Edgbaston (for the third Test).’