Australia turn to untried Test batsman Bailey for Ashes showdown

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After swishing his way to tons of one-day runs, 31-year-old George Bailey is included in Australia’s 12-man squad to face England in the first Ashes test at the Gabba, despite being untried at Test level and having a pretty modest first-class average.

Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson is the other notable inclusion for the Aussies, as the 32-year-old is another to have impressed in the 50-over format, even though he was dropped for the Ashes this summer.

Both inclusions can be taken as a bit of a gamble however, as Australia search for ways of taking the Ashes back after six painful years of English dominance, a task rated at 13/8 by Ladbrokes.

Players such as India’s Suresh Raina and England’s Eoin Morgan are good examples of great one-day batsmen who have struggled to establish themselves as Test players.

Question marks surround Bailey’s underwhelming first-class average of 38.28 over 10 seasons Down Under, though he has been nothing short of a revelation in ODI cricket for his country.

The stand-in ODI skipper has blasted his way to 1,539 runs at an average of 54.96, in 35 matches.

Four scores in excess of 80 in the Aussies’ recent ODI series against India seem to have sealed the deal in the Australian selectors’ minds, while his fellow Tasmanian team-mate Alex Doolan is the man to miss out.

Being such an unknown quantity in the Test arena makes Bailey an intriguing bet at 8/1 to top score for the Green Caps in this Ashes series, ahead of the likes of Steve Smith (10/1) and Phil Hughes (14/1).

Meanwhile, left-arm seamer Johnson gets another crack of the whip following Test exile since March, after showing good form in ODIs, where he was recorded at speeds of 93mph and looks to have his rhythm back.

However, some England players who took part in the victorious 3-1 series win on Australian soil in 2010/11 will be rubbing their hands over Johnson’s inclusion as the bowler was heavily punished for wayward bowling in that series by the likes of Alastair Cook.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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