Bailey Batting The House Down

Image courtesy of cricket.com.au
George Bailey has been dominant in 2013. Image courtesy of cricket.com.au
He has been much maligned as a batsman throughout his career, but Australia skipper George Bailey is showing why he has been so highly thought of in the corridors of power for some time. After his run-a-ball 98 in the rain-affected fourth ODI against India in Ranchi, Bailey now has the stunning average of 62 in 18 innings in 2013. His last seven knocks have reaped a total of 491 runs at an average of almost 82, and a strike rate of 107. No Australian has scored as many runs as Bailey at this stage of his ODI career and he already has 11 half-centuries and a ton to his credit in just 31 innings.

His middle order heroics may be needed in the fifth ODI at Cuttack, if the players get on the field. Heavy rain has lashed the ground the past few days and the locals are even planning on hiring a helicopter in an attempt to dry the outfield before Saturday night’s (AEST) match.

Bat has well and truly dominated ball in this series - in the first three games the teams posted 300-plus in five of the six innings – but with plenty of moisture around the pacemen may actually get some assistance. It was a low-scoring affair last time India played an ODI in Cuttack with the home side reaching the West Indies’ total of 211 with one wicket and seven balls to spare. On that occasion it was middle order men Darren Bravo and Rohit Sharma doing the damage for their respective sides after the fall of early wickets. Indian tweaker Ravindra Jadeja picked up 4/32 in a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in 2009. In fact, India has won its last four matches at the Barabati Stadium and eight of the last ten completed matches.

A win in this match would ensure Australia at least draws the seven-match series. Five of the tourists are averaging over 40 for the series, but Shane Watson has been the big disappointment so far scoring just 86 runs from four digs, with a highest score of 59. The bowling has generally lacked penetration, with Mitchell Johnson’s pace the only thing that has really troubled India’s batting line-up.

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