George Bailey, Australia’s middle-order batsman, played with maturity and showed the required batting nous to counter the spin-friendly conditions of Sri Lanka and aggregate 226 runs at an average of 75.33 in the ongoing One-Day International (ODI) series against the home side. The 33-year-old veteran has always been a consistent performer in the 50-over format and boasts of a noteworthy average of 42.48 in 80 matches.
Bailey’s impressive approach in these tough conditions might have now opened the door for him to represent Australia in the longest format of the game yet again. His last Test was in the Ashes series against England at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in January 2014.
Dan Marsh, the present head coach of Tasmania, believes that the quiet and unassuming cricketer deserves another crack at Test cricket, especially with Australia slated to tour India next year.
“If they’re looking for someone who can play spin well in the subcontinent, I’m sure he’s got his name up there,” Marsh, the former Tasmania captain and son of National Selector Rod Marsh, told cricket.com.au. “He will just have to back this up and … continue his good form in Shield cricket, as he did last year, to get his name up there.
“I think the lessons he would have learnt from his first five Tests, he’s a smart enough bloke that he would carry those on into the sixth, seventh and eighth Test he plays. That’s what driving George. He wants to play Test cricket again. It’s the ultimate test and he wants to get back there,” he said.
Bailey used both the conventional sweep shot and the reverse sweep to negate the threat of Sri Lanka’s spinners. Incidentally, during the Test series, the Australian batsmen were hesitant to bring out the sweep shot against the likes of Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan. Marsh, on his part, said that Bailey’s method could also help him to succeed in the Test arena.
“I can’t see why not,” he said. “If you look at the way the Sri Lankans played our spinners, they certainly swept a lot and very effectively.
“He would have gone in with a game plan over there after watching the Test series that he was going to have to do some sweeping. I know he ramped that up closer to the time. The best thing about it is he’s gone there with a plan, he’s stuck to it and it’s working,” he summed up.