Blitzing Bailey can still improve

AS Australia's inevitable Ashes victory is being cleverly manipulated to coincide with the end of the school year, it seems entirely appropriate to produce a report card on the team's newest arrival.

Ever the team man, George Bailey's primary focus will be savouring the taste of his country's long-awaited victory, but the man with the Midas touch, whose arrival saw a run of 10 winless Tests replaced by three golden wins, wouldn't be human if he wasn't reflecting on his own contribution.

Amidst the intense media interest ahead of his debut in Brisbane, the 31-year-old remained level-headed enough to say that he knew at his age he would only get one shot at a Test career.

So three matches later, with the urn seemingly banked, Bailey can reflect on batting contributions of 3, 34, 53, 7 and 39 not out, and an average of 34.00.

Before yesterday, it was enough to keep the wolves from the dressing room door, but Bailey would be first to use the report card parlance that there remained room for improvement.

However, dispatching the man ranked as the tenth best bowler in the world for a world record 28 runs off an over _ equalling the achievement of Brian Lara to South African spinner Robin Peterson _ suggests the former South Launceston batsman is making himself comfortable.

Whatever the length of Bailey's Test journey, it's already been a rollercoaster ride.

At the Gabba series opener, he had more runs after just one delivery than Chris Rogers and Michael Clarke had managed between them plus a Test strikerate of 300.

However, 13 balls later those three runs also represented his Test average.

England's attack may have been missing Onions, but at that point in proceedings it was still producing tears.

As the nerves departed, the runs arrived, with a second-innings 34 preceeding a maiden half-century at the Adelaide Oval.

Bailey's average of 3.00 after one innings had become 30.00 after two matches.

It took three Tests before he scored a run off James Anderson, but it was worth the wait.

The final over of Australia's second innings at Perth read 4, 6, 2, 4, 6, 6. When Michael Clarke declared at the end of it, Anderson looked as relieved as Bailey and 500,000 Tasmanians were disappointed.

Declaring when Shane Watson was on 98 would have made the captain more popular.

Bailey's blitz was the latest of many personal records.

His career-best 156 off 114 balls in Nagpur in October overtook fellow Tasmanian captain Ricky Ponting as the highest one-day international score by an Australian against India as Bailey become the second fastest player to 1500 ODI runs, behind South Africa's Hashim Amla.

He is the only Australian to average more than a six per performance and at one stage had scored more Test sixes than fours.

Bailey's comfortable touchdown on the Test tarmac was widely predicted in his home state. The likes of Ponting, Tim Coyle, Dan Marsh and Peter Faulkner all predicted the Longford boy was ready for the stage.

But it took a Tasmanian from an alternative sporting stage to reveal why.

Hobart's Olympic rower turned WorldTour cyclist Cameron Wurf was among those who offered congratulations via Twitter, providing a glimpse into their early encounters.

``All the best to Tassie legend George Bailey on debut today. He handled Hutchins sledging @ school so the Barmy Army'll be like a schoolchoir.''

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