TASMANIAN Tigers fast bowler Jackson Bird threatened to derail South Australia's quest for a first Sheffield Shield final appearance in 18 years by taking 6-50 on day one of the match at Hobart's Bellerive Oval.
The big quick bagged two wickets in his first over and added a third soon after as the Redbacks started disastrously following stand-in captain Phil Hughes's decision to bat first in a match they must claim points from to earn a place in the Shield final.
Bird returned to clean up the tail just before tea as the Tigers bowled the visitors out for 212 and by stumps had reached 2-145 thanks largely to an unbeaten century stand between Mark Cosgrove (83 not out) and Ben Dunk (54 not out).
Appearing in his first Shield match for almost 15 months, Test squad member Bird acknowledged the value of his recent experience touring alongside the likes of Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris in South Africa and had clearly cherished the chance to perform with the red ball in hand yesterday.
``Obviously I haven't played cricket for a while, being on the tour and not getting a game, so it's nice to play some cricket. I've been itching to get out there and it's nice to start off well,'' he said.
Learning off (Test bowlers) and seeing what they put themselves through, to see guys like Ryan and Mitch bowling on that last day (in Cape Town) was pretty inspirational really.
``You learn a lot from just watching them in the nets and how they go about their business.
``It's good to be around them.''
Other than heavy-hitting Trent Lawford (46 not out), all-rounder Andrew McDonald (83) was the only South Australian batsman to offer any meaningful resistance as Bird dominated proceedings from the outset.
McDonald admitted his side had received frank feedback from coach Darren Berry at the close of play and would look to avoid the pitfalls that had seen them slip behind so early in this cut-throat contest.
``I think it's just reality. Any time a coach gives you an address it's all pretty factual information,'' McDonald said.
``All he did was present the facts of today. We could have made a few more runs and there were a few errors in our batting line-up and then obviously with the ball we were a little bit disappointed.
``The bowlers, before the coach spoke, knew exactly where they went wrong.
``It's just reiterating where we went wrong and how we redress it tomorrow.''