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

Improvement outshines series result - Bailey

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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

  • POSTED BY Meety 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!!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Moppa 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!

  • POSTED BY Meety 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.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster 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.

  • POSTED BY Rolling_in_The_Deep 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..

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | September 11, 2012, 14:51 GMT

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

  • POSTED BY baabay 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

  • POSTED BY Gupta.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...

  • POSTED BY 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!

  • POSTED BY Moppa 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.

  • POSTED BY Meety 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!!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Moppa 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!

  • POSTED BY Meety 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.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster 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.

  • POSTED BY Rolling_in_The_Deep 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..

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | September 11, 2012, 14:51 GMT

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

  • POSTED BY baabay 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

  • POSTED BY Gupta.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...

  • POSTED BY 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!

  • POSTED BY Moppa 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.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | September 11, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    @sifter132 on (September 11 2012, 09:50 AM GMT) - yes, but there were also ODIs, & what I was trying to say (although it seems I failed to do so properly), is that I think Christian is every bit as good as Maxwell in the pinch hitting role. BTW - Wade was @ #8. I know where you are coming from re: the 8 overs, although, it is fair to say that Watto's Short Form bowling is almost at specialist quality. He regularly bowls 10 overs in ODIs, so 4 overs shouldn't be too much of a stretch, so I'd say the equation is 4 overs between Maxwell, DHussey & Christian & that doesn't look to bad. You are right re: #8, in the last W/Cup #7 averaged around 8 balls per innings, so selecting a batsmen for LESS than 8 balls would be overkill -except when we get bowled out for 89!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY sifter132 on | September 11, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    Meety, not sure how you expect Christian to get more batting - he's down at #8! Getting him a bat SHOULD NOT be the game plan. I think that's where Australia's team isn't balanced despite what Bailey says. To me it seems the idea of Christian batting at #8 is really there for a worst case scenario, it's not so they can keep attacking all the time, otherwise surely Christian would be up the order going hard from ball 1 and making sure the most attacking batters get used. I think the #8 should be a better bowler, because bowling options are important in T20. To me, Watson, Christian, Maxwell and maybe David Hussey needing to bowl at least 8 overs between them is NOT ideal, get a 3rd genuine seamer in there.

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | September 11, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Not a bad result for Australia considering the conditions: 3/4 ODIS and 1/3 T20's (with one of those matches tied). There were some promising performances from Starc, Cummins and Pattinson; although they were inconsistent, experience will improve that - I think Australia will have a good pace attack for at least another decade. The problem again was the batting. Wade and Warner had a poor tour, though Wade can excuse himself because of the difficulty keeping wickets in the hot conditions. The top order didn't really seem to get going until the last game (7 games in). The middle order didn't fair much better.

  • POSTED BY Marcio on | September 11, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    @سيد فهيم شاه (how do you pronounce that? ;-) I wouldn't call a tied game a humiliation for Australia. Look at the official result it says "Tied game decided in super over". No shame in that. I know it's hard to accept that even at home you were no better than Australia, but that is the reality. The best spin you could put on it is that PAK won the series by 1 run. And Australia showed improvements in every game. Personally, I'm pretty happy with the performance, as they achieved their main goal of improving their game in these kinds of conditions.

  • POSTED BY khurramsch on | September 11, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    series result is what will stand in future 2-1. you cant say improvement outshines series result.its just 1 game you won. & getting out on 89 doesnt mean you will do same in next. problem still for aus is that they are not consistant. warner fired after 5 matches & we all know he doesnt do that all the time. watson fired after 2 matches. & consistancy is what will matter in wc2012 as there will be no 2nd chance. anyway well played by warner & watson . bowlers ride on their runs.

  • POSTED BY on | September 11, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    Australia can't play under pressure. They were humiliated by Pakistan in first two matches, yet even worst they rank 10th on the T20 ranking list. Once they lost the series they threw everything at the 3rd match to gain little respect and they succeeded. If you think Aussies have gained confidence by winning a dead rubber think again. You don't believe me, then wait and watch. T20 World cup is right around the corner.

  • POSTED BY nthuq on | September 11, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    Agreeing with bobagorof, though it probably is a bit late now to get other proven T20 players in the middle order. Would've loved to see Phil Hughes in there, but doesn't look like that's happening for a while. Good to see old Hoggy having a good time.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | September 11, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    Side for the W/Cup - 1. Watson, 2. Warner, 3. Maxwell (to have a crack during PowerPlay), 4. M Hussey, 5. Christian, 6. DHussey, 7. Bailey (c), 8. Wade, 9. Starc, 10. McKay, 11. Cummins. IF White was in form I'd swap him for Bailey. Whilst I know there should be a specialist spinner in the side for SL conditions, I really don't think either Hogg or Doherty are amongst our best bowling options. As with the 2011 ODI W/Cup, I wanted Oz to use DHussey & Smith instead of Doherty, here, we can use Maxwell & DHussey & maybe Warner. I think Cummins/McKay/Starc are both wicket takers & economical AND offer pace variety (Cumins swings thru the air, McKay changes of pace & seam, Starc Left hand swing) - then there is Watto & Christian as quality bowlers.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | September 11, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    @bobagorof - I agree. I dunno what has happenned to DHussey, he seemed to be in great form at the start of the year. His last 7 matches (across 2 formats) - he averaged 10 with the bat & 0/43 with the ball although at a reasonable 5 rpo. White has been very dissappointing, I definately wanted him sacked a couple of years ago, when his form was woeful, but over the last 6 months or so, his form in T20 leagues around the world had been VERY good, (actually thought BEFORE the UAE tour, he should be returned to the captaincy of the T20 side for the W/Cup). He was excellent in the IPL, which SHOULD of meant he'd be a worthy addition to the T20 W/Cup squad in SL. ATM - this does not appear to be the case. I think Oz missed a trcik by not giving Christian more opportunities with the bat. He has only faced 11 balls in T20i's. Happy Maxwell has been given opportunities, but I really think Christian COULD do well as PowerPlay hitter!

  • POSTED BY bobagorof on | September 11, 2012, 2:01 GMT

    Australia really needs to look at their middle order. I was going to call for White to be dropped, but when I compared his form over the past 2 years I realised that both he and David Hussey have been averaging around 14-15 with the bat. That's simply not good enough, and corresponds with Australia's poor performances in this period. Sure, both are coming in down the order, but neither is striking at much more than a run a ball (White is fractionally above, Hussey is below). For imposing players at domestic level (including IPL), they've been woeful at International level recently. At least Hussey's done well with the ball.

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  • POSTED BY bobagorof on | September 11, 2012, 2:01 GMT

    Australia really needs to look at their middle order. I was going to call for White to be dropped, but when I compared his form over the past 2 years I realised that both he and David Hussey have been averaging around 14-15 with the bat. That's simply not good enough, and corresponds with Australia's poor performances in this period. Sure, both are coming in down the order, but neither is striking at much more than a run a ball (White is fractionally above, Hussey is below). For imposing players at domestic level (including IPL), they've been woeful at International level recently. At least Hussey's done well with the ball.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | September 11, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    @bobagorof - I agree. I dunno what has happenned to DHussey, he seemed to be in great form at the start of the year. His last 7 matches (across 2 formats) - he averaged 10 with the bat & 0/43 with the ball although at a reasonable 5 rpo. White has been very dissappointing, I definately wanted him sacked a couple of years ago, when his form was woeful, but over the last 6 months or so, his form in T20 leagues around the world had been VERY good, (actually thought BEFORE the UAE tour, he should be returned to the captaincy of the T20 side for the W/Cup). He was excellent in the IPL, which SHOULD of meant he'd be a worthy addition to the T20 W/Cup squad in SL. ATM - this does not appear to be the case. I think Oz missed a trcik by not giving Christian more opportunities with the bat. He has only faced 11 balls in T20i's. Happy Maxwell has been given opportunities, but I really think Christian COULD do well as PowerPlay hitter!

  • POSTED BY Meety on | September 11, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    Side for the W/Cup - 1. Watson, 2. Warner, 3. Maxwell (to have a crack during PowerPlay), 4. M Hussey, 5. Christian, 6. DHussey, 7. Bailey (c), 8. Wade, 9. Starc, 10. McKay, 11. Cummins. IF White was in form I'd swap him for Bailey. Whilst I know there should be a specialist spinner in the side for SL conditions, I really don't think either Hogg or Doherty are amongst our best bowling options. As with the 2011 ODI W/Cup, I wanted Oz to use DHussey & Smith instead of Doherty, here, we can use Maxwell & DHussey & maybe Warner. I think Cummins/McKay/Starc are both wicket takers & economical AND offer pace variety (Cumins swings thru the air, McKay changes of pace & seam, Starc Left hand swing) - then there is Watto & Christian as quality bowlers.

  • POSTED BY nthuq on | September 11, 2012, 3:44 GMT

    Agreeing with bobagorof, though it probably is a bit late now to get other proven T20 players in the middle order. Would've loved to see Phil Hughes in there, but doesn't look like that's happening for a while. Good to see old Hoggy having a good time.

  • POSTED BY on | September 11, 2012, 4:52 GMT

    Australia can't play under pressure. They were humiliated by Pakistan in first two matches, yet even worst they rank 10th on the T20 ranking list. Once they lost the series they threw everything at the 3rd match to gain little respect and they succeeded. If you think Aussies have gained confidence by winning a dead rubber think again. You don't believe me, then wait and watch. T20 World cup is right around the corner.

  • POSTED BY khurramsch on | September 11, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    series result is what will stand in future 2-1. you cant say improvement outshines series result.its just 1 game you won. & getting out on 89 doesnt mean you will do same in next. problem still for aus is that they are not consistant. warner fired after 5 matches & we all know he doesnt do that all the time. watson fired after 2 matches. & consistancy is what will matter in wc2012 as there will be no 2nd chance. anyway well played by warner & watson . bowlers ride on their runs.

  • POSTED BY Marcio on | September 11, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    @سيد فهيم شاه (how do you pronounce that? ;-) I wouldn't call a tied game a humiliation for Australia. Look at the official result it says "Tied game decided in super over". No shame in that. I know it's hard to accept that even at home you were no better than Australia, but that is the reality. The best spin you could put on it is that PAK won the series by 1 run. And Australia showed improvements in every game. Personally, I'm pretty happy with the performance, as they achieved their main goal of improving their game in these kinds of conditions.

  • POSTED BY OneEyedAussie on | September 11, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Not a bad result for Australia considering the conditions: 3/4 ODIS and 1/3 T20's (with one of those matches tied). There were some promising performances from Starc, Cummins and Pattinson; although they were inconsistent, experience will improve that - I think Australia will have a good pace attack for at least another decade. The problem again was the batting. Wade and Warner had a poor tour, though Wade can excuse himself because of the difficulty keeping wickets in the hot conditions. The top order didn't really seem to get going until the last game (7 games in). The middle order didn't fair much better.

  • POSTED BY sifter132 on | September 11, 2012, 9:50 GMT

    Meety, not sure how you expect Christian to get more batting - he's down at #8! Getting him a bat SHOULD NOT be the game plan. I think that's where Australia's team isn't balanced despite what Bailey says. To me it seems the idea of Christian batting at #8 is really there for a worst case scenario, it's not so they can keep attacking all the time, otherwise surely Christian would be up the order going hard from ball 1 and making sure the most attacking batters get used. I think the #8 should be a better bowler, because bowling options are important in T20. To me, Watson, Christian, Maxwell and maybe David Hussey needing to bowl at least 8 overs between them is NOT ideal, get a 3rd genuine seamer in there.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | September 11, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    @sifter132 on (September 11 2012, 09:50 AM GMT) - yes, but there were also ODIs, & what I was trying to say (although it seems I failed to do so properly), is that I think Christian is every bit as good as Maxwell in the pinch hitting role. BTW - Wade was @ #8. I know where you are coming from re: the 8 overs, although, it is fair to say that Watto's Short Form bowling is almost at specialist quality. He regularly bowls 10 overs in ODIs, so 4 overs shouldn't be too much of a stretch, so I'd say the equation is 4 overs between Maxwell, DHussey & Christian & that doesn't look to bad. You are right re: #8, in the last W/Cup #7 averaged around 8 balls per innings, so selecting a batsmen for LESS than 8 balls would be overkill -except when we get bowled out for 89!!!!!!!