Ashes 2013-14: Alex Doolan poised for Proteas test in place of ‘only flop’ George Bailey

The Aussie Angle

George Bailey was the only Australia player who walked off the SCG last night without casting at least one eye towards the heavyweight series in South Africa next month.

Australia will hit the Ashes finish line hard in the next day or so after another clinical display on a Sydney pitch starting to show more signs of its limited preparation.

A domestic Twenty20 match a week ago robbed the groundsman of several days’ work, which played into the hands of the irrepressible Australian attack.

Maintaining a considerably fuller length than James Anderson and his cohorts on the first day, the local seamers made mincemeat of England’s top-order on a surface with variable pace and bounce and enough purchase to allow the ball to spit and jump.

Several old-timers described the ball as “nibbling about” but they might have said the same of a school of piranhas hopping into their breakfast.

England’s batting coach Graham Gooch was at a University of NSW cricket club breakfast in the morning where he said Australia’s first-innings 326 was a target too far away and that he doubted whether England would get close to it.

How right he was as Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, in particular, probed away at off stump and were rewarded with three wickets apiece. None of the England top five managed more than seven runs during the initial bloodbath.

Bailey’s claim to a more permanent berth came late in the day after Anderson and Stuart Broad had gone to school on their opposite numbers to clean up an Australia top-order in which the key members – Michael Clarke and David Warner – have waned considerably after their prolific early endeavours. Clarke has not passed 24 since his Adelaide ton while Warner has been quiet in the past two Tests.

Bailey was 20 not out but had done little more than confirm the suggestions from Adelaide and Perth that he was a neat and busy player comfortable in the relatively low-pressure environment of a second-innings touch-up.

Internal competition provides splendid motivation, and Bailey, lucid, genial and astute, would have had little trouble reading the tea leaves after reserve batsman Alex Doolan was ordered to stay in Sydney throughout the match rather than return to his T20 franchise, basically to examine the cut of Doolan’s jib with the South Africa series in mind.

Bailey did nothing in the first innings to indicate that he would keep Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander at bay. He was dismissed in familiar fashion, poking at a lifting delivery to edge into the slips, leaving him with the modest return of 137 runs at 22.83 in the series. His only half-century came in the Second Test when he had a licence to hit out as Australia chased quick runs.

Former Test batsman Tom Moody said the selectors had missed an opportunity to blood Doolan in Sydney and that Bailey had been exposed as a batsman short of Test class.

“Missed opportunity for Bailey & Doolan,” he tweeted as Bailey succumbed. “The later [sic] should be making his debut today! Bailey selection only failure this summer!” Bailey is likely to travel to South Africa – but as Twenty20 captain for the three games against the Proteas before travelling to Bangladesh for the T20 World Cup.

Doolan is poised to be the next addition to the top-order.He would have played at the SCG had No 3 Shane Watson not recovered from a groin strain, and he has been under close watch by the national selector John Inverarity since the start of last season.

Doolan has scored only 391 runs at 39.10 for Tasmania this year but Inverarity considers his cool temperament and correct and upright technique make him a strong chance for Test success.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most