Pakistan v Australia, 3rd T20, Dubai September 11, 2012

Improvement outshines series result - Bailey


Though Pakistan took the series, Australia's captain George Bailey believes a crushing victory for his side in the final match has provided something far more important heading into the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka - strong momentum.

Having begun by being bowled out for just 89 in game one, Australia returned the favour against Pakistan in the third fixture, routing Mohammad Hafeez's team for a mere 74 after David Warner and Shane Watson had added 111 to set their side on the path to 168 for 7. Apart from a middle order fade following that stand, it was one of Australia's most complete T20 displays.

"We have worked really hard, particularly over the last week, so to get the reward of a victory and see that the things we are working on are actually coming to fruition, I think that's really important for us," Bailey said. "So we will take a lot out of it, a lot of confidence for sure. While the series was important, the continual improvement throughout the series was probably more important."

Following his own side's poor start to the series, and the ignominy of briefly dropping beneath Ireland on the ICC's T20 rankings, Bailey said Australia's progress was proof that Pakistan could also recover quickly from a heavy defeat. However Bailey was also sure that the path to victory at the World T20 would require a team to close the gap between their best and worst.

"We got bowled out for 10 more runs the other night, and you can bounce back from it. It's a wake up call," Bailey said. "I think Pakistan are an unbelievable side, and at their best they can play some great cricket and at our best we can play some great cricket. I think T20 is that sort of game. At everyone's best you can beat anyone, but they key is to not let your worst game drop too far from your best game."

Warner's stand with Watson confirmed the pair were moving into ominous form at the right time, after Watson missed the ODI series with injury and Warner struggled for a time to find the right gears on slow pitches against quality spin. Bailey said a rapid start from the openers had a powerful effect on the confidence of rest of the team.

"They always open for us and we know they're absolutely dynamite when they come off, so the pleasing thing from my point of view was their intent and their positiveness," Bailey said. "I know for the batters waiting in the shed, when we're seeing Shane Watson and David Warner bat like that as a pair, that's awesome for us, we feel like we're dominating the game.

"It makes our jobs a lot easier. You talk about energy and momentum in the field with your bowlers, and when you see two of your batters setting the game up like that, it gives you that feeling as a group."

To follow up the opening stand, Bailey promoted Glenn Maxwell, who was chosen ahead of David Hussey. The options at Bailey's disposal are considerable, leaving him and the coach Mickey Arthur to think further about their best combinations on the trip to Colombo.

"We feel Maxy gives us a bit of X-factor, and when you do have a start like that he's someone who can come in and keep the momentum going in your direction, a gun in the field and some handy overs tonight and a wicket," Bailey said. "That sort of package is great, and Dave Hussey provides a similar role.

"So it's a tough one, and we're going to have four guys left out each game who can probably feel pretty hard done by. I did like our balance tonight, and it is going to come down to a bit of situation, a bit of conditions, opposition, all those things when we weigh up exactly what that XI's going to be."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on September 13, 2012, 23:54 GMT

    @Moppa on (September 12 2012, 11:28 AM GMT) - "Or just pad them all up!"" - I like that!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guy on September 12, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Thanks for the reply @Meety, what you are saying definitely makes sense. I'd still go for having one of Wade and Bailey up the order (3 or 4), but can see the merit of having one down to recover an innings. That would leave Mike Hussey at 4 or 5, which seems about right to me. The key thing is that the line-up should be flexible and batsmen should be willing to change position depending on when wickets fall - e.g. pad Wade up at 3 but then hold him back if no wickets fall until the 8th over, and then bring Bailey in instead. Or just pad them all up!

  • Andrew on September 11, 2012, 23:31 GMT

    @Moppa on (September 11 2012, 11:27 AM GMT) - he's a GREAT ODI finisher - but IMO, if Huss bats too far down the order,(in T20s) we lose his impact. For example, a #7 batsmen averages just 7 or 8 balls a match. So @ say #6, you aren't going to get much more impact - maybe 15 to 20 balls barring a top order collapse. Whilst you have made a valid case for your line up, where my thinking differs is - Bailey, he is a nurdler who when his eye is in he can tonk, but overall (barring 1 innings) - I would say T20s are not his strong point, but he has great poise. So I would bat him @ #7, so IF we were to collapse, he can recover things for us. I agree Wade looks better against the new ball (pace particularlly), but I think he is another great safety valve low down the order. The premise of my batting order is, go out aggressive, IF it comes off we look like champs, if it doesn't Bailey & Wade should be able to get us to 100+ & at least we can compete.

  • Jay on September 11, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    I think Bailey is useless as a captain. IMO, he shouldn't even play for Australia. Anyway, coming to the point, Australia shouldn't get over confident with this win. They could be in for a shocker come the World T20. However, it's a good end to the series by beating one of the favourites in Pakistan. I am an admirer of Aussie cricket in general. It's true Australia are no longer the force they used to be, however, they are still a decent cricket team that can catch you off guard.

  • waseem on September 11, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    As a captain George Bailey is doing a great job. He is a cool guy under pressure just like Steve Waugh , Dhoni, Ranatunga et al. Pacers are good, batting is all good with introduction of Maxwell down the order . Another bright spot is form of Brad Hogg, he was unplayable in third t20. His four overs will choke the life out of opposing batting line up if he continue to produce this form in WT20. Australia has a great chance of winning this one alongside Sri Lanka..

  • Randolph on September 11, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    There's only been one worse captain, Cameron White.

  • syed on September 11, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    what a good come back still the middle order is brittle with over a 100 runs in the first 10 overa and next 10 only 57

  • ankur on September 11, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    I have a big laugh whenever i see Bailey as captain of the team or selectors forcibly adjusting him at no-6 in the odi's...

  • Dummy4 on September 11, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Refreshing comments from Bailey. Glad to see he doesn't take it too seriously. Hoggy is a legend!

  • Guy on September 11, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    @Meety, interesting line-up, but I'm interested in both your and the selector's decision to move Mike Hussey up the order. I think he's still the best finisher in the game (after Dhoni) and nothing has really changed since the 2010 T20 WC, so I'd like to have him at 5 or 6. If we happen to not lose many wickets you can always promote him to come in around over 12, but I wouldn't waste him before then. On the assumption of early wickets, my batting line up would look more like: Warner, Watson, Wade, Bailey, M.Hussey, D.Hussey, Maxwell, etc. Wade is more comfortable against the new ball I think, and Bailey is probably best suited to knocking the ball around from overs 7-12 and rotating the strike for, hopefully, Warner, Watson or a Hussey to do the real damage.

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