George Bailey is talented enough in playing the kind of innings he played today in the 5th ODI. We have seen this in the past. He was the highest run-scorer during Australia’s tour of India in the month of October in 2013. The surfaces in India were on the slower-side, and he handled the Indian spinners quite brilliantly. After scoring couple of centuries in India, he got used to the slow types of pitches.
He was able to shine on slow pitches because he has perfect technique to play on slow surfaces. If you are playing on a slow pitch, you need to be a good player off the backfoot. You should not be premeditated. You should also be a fine player of spinners. George Bailey possesses all the three characteristics and consequently, he made an impact on sub-continental wicket.
Even in the fifth one-day at Adelaide, the surface was on the slower-side. The ball was not coming onto the bat quickly. The slow bowlers were gripping the ball nicely. Stuart Broad removed Australia’s key batsmen and had them on the ropes at 43/3. Australia were on the verge of getting bowled out for 100. That’s where a batsman like George Bailey could make the difference.
The good thing about Bailey was he never panicked. Despite losing his partners at the other end, he looked confident in his innings. He brought all his experience against spinners. England spinners were not concentrating on the turn, but on the line & length and it made the job easier for George Bailey. He went onto the backfoot straightaway and played some delightful flicks and cuts. He scored at a good strike rate of 75.67.
Usually, when the batting team is losing wickets at regular intervals, and has set batsmen at the crease, that particular batsman wouldn’t have scored at a good strike rate. He would have rather thought of surviving the next few overs with his new partner before going for big shots.
But Bailey had other ideas. Bailey’s plan was to not lose the momentum. He would have realized the nature of the wicket and felt something around 200 would be a good score. He stuck to his plan and played accordingly. However he failed to make use of some of the loose deliveries offered by England pacers during the 28th-32nd over. Had he made use of the opportunity, Australia would have posted around 240-run mark. Nevertheless, Bailey’s 56 ensured Australia batted the whole 50 overs.
But none of the Australia cricketers talked about Bailey’s innings. Apart from his 56, other batsmen managed only 20’s and 30’s. If he would have also been in that list, Australia would have stayed on No.2 in rankings.
If Bailey played a crucial role with the bat, Faulkner played an important role with the ball. On a pitch which behaved on the slower-side, Faulkner varied his pace admirably. His two wickets towards the end of the innings proved to be the turning point. Until then, England were on the driver seat with 154/3. Eoin Morgan and Joe Root were settled.
Clarke was clever to give the ball to Faulkner. Clarke knew that Eoin Morgan is not capable of picking the slower deliveries correctly and therefore he tossed the ball to Faulkner. He sent back Morgan and Root quickly, to turn the game in Australia’s favor. Though England had Ravi Bopara lower down the order, Australia pacers were accurate and England batsmen had no answer for them at the death.