Challenging time ahead for Bailey

TAILENDER Mitchell Johnson has scored more runs in this Ashes series than George Bailey.

And Johnson has picked up a lazy 31 wickets as well.

Having led Australia's one-day and Twenty20 sides, Bailey brings plenty to the table at Test level.

Runs is the currency for a specialist batsman at No.6 in the Australia Test team though, and with a record of 136 at 27.20, the right-hander is starting to test the patience of selectors.

One of those four selectors is Australia coach Darren Lehmann, who said yesterday he was disappointed with his side's first-innings effort of 204 in the fourth Test in Melbourne.

Bailey contributed a 19-ball duck in the first innings and didn't bat again as Australia scored an eight-wicket win on the fourth day.

"George needs to make some runs, like a lot of other players," Lehmann said.

"The simple fact is our first- innings batting hasn't been good enough. Even in Adelaide it was Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin who got that big partnership [of 200 after Australia had been 5-257].

"We have to make sure we're improving our batting each and every time and we weren't good enough in the first innings here."

Shane Watson (83 not out) and Chris Rogers (116) added 136 for the second wicket in Australia's winning score of 2-231, but it's papering over the cracks of first- innings issues for the home side.

And while Australia leads England 4-0 in their five-match series, more modest efforts from its top-six batsmen are unlikely to yield the same winning results against top-ranked South Africa in February.

Bailey's biggest battle could be inside his own head.

One big score in the Sydney Test would bring self-confidence and a sense of belonging.

Rogers said the same thing himself yesterday, revealing that at the age of 36 and now with 10 matches under his belt including two centuries, he feels like he's a part of the team.

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