Hussey backs Bailey

MIKE Hussey has called for patience with Test middle order successor George Bailey, backing him as the man for the job.

Bailey has made an inconsistent start in Australia's No.6 spot where Hussey dominated before quitting international cricket early this year.

The Tasmanian has averaged an unimpressive 27 since debuting in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, while Australia has cruised to victory by margins of 381, 218 and 150 runs and eight wickets in the four Tests.

Hussey, who averaged 51.52 over 79 Tests, admits surprise at Australia's level of dominance in the series, even though he'd predicted it could turn around its 3-0 mid-year Ashes series loss in England.

"I'm not surprised that they've turned it around, I was one of the few I guess that did say I was confident at the start of the series," Hussey said yesterday.

"But I must admit I have been surprised at how emphatic the victories have been.

"To dominate the first four Test matches the way Australia have has been amazing to watch.

"A lot of credit has to go to all the boys. They've played brilliant cricket and they should lap up all the success and good wishes that are going their way."

Hussey backed Bailey, who has notched just one Test 50 and laughed off a suggestion the Tasmanian was the weak link in the Australian batting lineup.

"I don't think he's a weak link at all, every Test match he plays we win," Hussey said.

"He's the good luck charm, so I wouldn't be moving George at all.

"But it's not easy to come into Test cricket and hit the ground running, it takes time.

"No.6 can be a difficult position to bat as well.

"Quite often you get the second new ball or you get the old ball when it's soft and spinning, or reverse swinging, so it's a difficult place to bat.

"You've got to sometimes bat with the tail, you've got to bat when we're in trouble, or when you need quick runs.

"I think the good thing about George is he's an adaptable player, he adapts to the situation of a game and I have no problems with George in there.

"I think he's doing a good job."

Hussey didn't agree with the suggestion that Bailey could lose his place for the final Test in Sydney to allrounder and fellow Tasmanian James Faulkner.

"If they wanted to strengthen the bowling a little bit, that's something they can look at, but George is a very good batter. He's obviously a better batsmen than Faulkner, so you would be weakening the batting. I'd be very reluctant to change the team to be honest."

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