West Indies v Australia, 1st Twenty20, Gros Islet March 27, 2012

Bailey praises Australia's 'polished' performance


George Bailey, the Australia captain, has praised his bowlers for their work at the death in keeping West Indies to 150 in the first Twenty20 in St Lucia. Australia comfortably overhauled the target with eight wickets and nearly two overs to spare, and it was a fine performance considering Kieron Pollard scored a 20-ball half-century that was the fastest ever by a West Indian in a T20 international.

West Indies scored only 16 runs from their last three overs as Shane Watson and Brett Lee found just the right length to keep Pollard and his colleagues quiet. That was a pleasant change for the Australians, who in the past few couple of months have often struggled to contain teams in the later stages of innings, especially in ODIs.

"It was pretty polished," Bailey said of the all-round effort. "[The bowling was pleasing] particularly given how we finished a couple of games in the one-dayers. For the guys to have responded to that, learnt what they have, come up with plans and then execute them, I think that's really pleasing and we'll take a lot of confidence out of that.

"It was nothing too radical. We talked about a few different plans and a few different lines and a few different options. The only thing I really wanted to do today was to give myself options at the back end, in case they were going really, really hard. Then we weren't locked in to bowling particular bowlers. Having so many bowlers in the team that was the beauty of the options I had."

Bailey said Australia's all-round performance was close to their best of the tour so far, and it was the second win for Bailey from three matches since taking over as captain. The loss of David Warner in the first over of the innings created a few nerves in the Australian dressing room, but the way Watson and Michael Hussey batted, the target never looked big enough.

"You're never sure. The key is always going to be early partnerships for us and early wickets for them," Bailey said. "Losing one in the first over always puts you on edge a little bit. But I think the class of Shane and Huss, they just suit each other perfectly. Watto clears the pickets and Huss just pierces the gaps so beautifully."

Watson was named Man of the Match for his 69 and 1 for 16 from four overs, and he made a clear difference to the balance of the side having missed Bailey's first two games as captain through injury. Bailey said quality allrounders were a godsend for any T20 captain.

"It's gold to have any allrounder in your team and [especially] to have one of the quality of Watto, who can hold his own in the team as a batter or a bowler," he said. "He's so, so important to our team and it was nice for him to free himself today. His last two overs were particularly good at the death and then the clinical way he batted and the strength of clearing that fence."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on March 28, 2012, 20:20 GMT

    @Greg Ranger - you haven't been watching much ODIs of late have you? We just had a highly entertaining tri-series, an Asia cup with that was top notch, Oz just drew 2all with the Windies with a tie thrown in as well! All of this is off the back of a pretty top shelf World Cup. T20s are the least interesting form of the game. I am happy enough for a reduction in the amount of ODIs (particularly bilaterals like the 7-match series in England which is dumb). I agree that 2-match T20s serve no real purpose, particularly when the T20 side is almost identical to the ODI side as is the case for this series for Oz. @Wefinishthis - sorry I'll take a boring ODI over a fast T20 game anyday. Quality cricket is played in ODIs, whereas in T20s its all madness. T20s are good to develop the game beyond the test world, & is a great format for the Olympics. T20s are a bit like eating cardboard, no nutritional value, but it is something to do/watch.

  • Chris on March 28, 2012, 14:34 GMT

    Completely agree Greg. ODI's were meant to be the short, fast, colourful & entertaining hit and giggle that would take cricket to places that test cricket couldn't where by punishing dot ball, we got to see lots of runs, sixes and wickets thus maximising the entertainment in a shorter time period, but they evolved to only be interesting for the first and last 5 overs whereas the other 40 overs were boring. Now T20 is what ODI's should have always been and quite frankly that means that ODI's should be the exhibition match so we're left with a T20 series and a Test series. Test cricket IS cricket and must stay, whereas T20 is the fastest form of the game. It would be great to be world champions in both, but who cares if you're ODI champion any more?

  • Satish on March 28, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    Good on Bailey to use Mike Hussey at 3.. He is the best player of spin and a timely decision paid off.. As a young captain, he need to weigh his options well and he exactly did it this match..

  • Basil on March 28, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    @greg ranger, the ODI series was tight as was the tri-series in Aus. Come to think of it, the most boring, non contest games I've seen of late have been T20's..... Ha!

  • Bryn on March 28, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    watto is just unbelievable. never ceases to amaze me. best cricketer worldwide across the board by a massive distance

  • peter on March 28, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    GREG RANGER HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. Yes get rid of one day internationals, they are so boring until the last 7 overs, just play 20/20 and the real game (tests of course).

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    why has Hussy (DJ) has not bowled much in the series???before the series started he himself was hopeful of a longer bowling stint and considering his performance in the CB series he is definitely a decent int'l bowler....

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    Great captaincy George I would say

  • Andrew on March 28, 2012, 1:07 GMT

    Thinking a bit more about it, I suppose given the conditions there in the WIndies are going to have similarities to SL (bounce & speed of the pitch minus as much turn), I'd have to say the side is looking in good shape. 2 changes I'd prefer, but not enough to whinge!

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2012, 0:58 GMT

    Can anyone tell me what use is a two match T20 series? Australia does it all the time, now the Windies. Other countries play at least three. Otherwise what does it mean if you win one, lose one? Did a bean counter come up with this formula? I think its time for the ODI's to be given the flick and replaced by T20's, ODI's have become repititious and bloody boring.

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