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Not bad for a 'B team'

Sportal January 12, 2013, 10:31 am
George Bailey

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Acting Australia captain George Bailey was delighted after his side silenced the critics with a comprehensive 107-run win over Sri Lanka in the ODI series opener at the MCG on Friday.

Bailey, who hit a superb 89 from 79 deliveries, had the best seat in the house as team-mate Phil Hughes became the first Australian ever to score a century on one-day international debut.

Hughes hit a majestic 112 and David Hussey chipped in with a whirlwind 60 not out at the end of Australia's innings as they posted a formidable total of 5-305 from their 50 overs.

Sri Lanka were skittled for 198 in response, with a collapse - triggered by three run-outs in the space of five overs - seeing them lose their final eight wickets for just 87 runs.

Clint McKay (4-33 off eight overs) led the way with the ball for Australia, who took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series with a huge win as they made a mockery of those who suggested the side looked like a 'B' team with the likes of Michael Clarke, David Warner and Matthew Wade missing.

"I think it (was) a really great team effort to stand up on the back of some criticism from outsiders and some people who weren't sure if we were up to it," Bailey said.

"Hopefully we've put those doubts to bed and the next challenge is to do it consistently and go 2-0 up."

Bailey paid tribute to Hughes after his century, which came from 129 deliveries and included 14 fours.

The 24-year-old was one of three players making their first international appearance for Australia in the 50-over format - Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja also made their debuts - but Bailey was impressed with the way he attacked the Sri Lankan bowling.

"(It was) a good all-round performance (with) 'Hughesy' leading the way," he said.

"That was a really important innings. To have three debutants at the top ... that's where you want the majority of your runs to come from and (where) they have to come from, so for 'Hughesy' to lead from the front with a big hundred was really important."

Bailey hopes his side's effort will give the selectors headaches when they decide to end the rest periods for the star trio on the sidelines.

"The challenge is to make it as difficult as you can for the selectors when they are picking their team and to have that depth so that when an injury does occur, that everyone knows that you can slot in and perform different roles," he said.

Centurion Hughes said it was 'flattering' to hear about his new record as the left-hander surpassed the 94 scored by Phil Jaques against South Africa at Etihad Stadium in January 2006.

And he also said his hundred - his fourth for Australia in all formats - was one of his career highlights.

"(It was my) first game so I had a few nerves there," he said.

"I wanted to get a couple away early and they eased back a bit. It was nice to get the three figures on debut today. It's something that I will never ever forget."

Australia take on Sri Lanka in game two of the series at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

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