Bailey and Starc shake, rattle and roll
GLENN MAXWELL followed a golden duck with a golden cheque but it was a man who could be ''flipping burgers'' and another who turned his back on the lucrative Indian Premier League that came to their country's rescue.
George Bailey's maiden international century pulled Australia back from almost the point of no return in Perth after their batsmen continued their roller-coaster form in the 50-over format on Sunday.
George Bailey ... celebrates his century. Photo: AFP
The Tasmanian's career-best innings in the international arena allowed the hosts to set an imposing 267 against the Windies, who for the second time in as many matches were no match for Mitchell Starc.
The impressive left-armer, who turned his back on the IPL player auction where he, like Maxwell, could also have fetched $1 million, decimated the Windies by capturing 5-32.
Maxwell, too, played a key role in Australia's 54-run victory, finishing his topsy-turvy day by claiming a string of key wickets in the middle overs. But it was Bailey who was the architect of this win.
The 30-year-old produced perhaps the best one-day innings of the summer, creaming 125 runs off only 110 balls. This, however, was not the innings of a frontrunner as it arrested another alarming batting collapse by the hosts.
Bailey arrived at the crease with Australia perilously placed in the 13th over then watched as several of his teammates, including skipper Michael Clarke, fell cheaply.
Perth's cricket fans were staring at a double-header of early finishes when Australia crumbled to 6-98 in the 24th over but Bailey's rearguard ensured they would at least see a contest.
Content just to survive early, Bailey resurrected Australia's innings with a vital 100-run stand with all-rounder James Faulkner before unleashing havoc in the final overs.
There were fears Bailey, unbeaten on 93 at the start of the penultimate over of the innings, would run out of time to reach triple figures though his whirlwind finish ensured that would not happen. Although known more as an accumulator of runs than an explosive hitter, Bailey crashed 30 runs off his final six balls, 24 of which came in the last over against a hapless Dwayne Bravo.
Australia's collapse had little to do with the WACA Ground pitch but rather a combination of the Windies' excellent fielding and poor placement by the batsmen. The highlight was Darren Sammy's red-hot one-handed pluck above his head at first slip off the spin of Sunil Narine to dismiss Matthew Wade.
''[We were] in a state of shock to see some of the catches that were taken. The one from Sammy was spectacular,'' Powell said.
The Windies' top order folded under Starc's onslaught with the new ball but, thanks to the in-form Kieran Powell and Dwayne Bravo, batted themselves into a match-winning position.
But Maxwell's intervention with his off-spin turned the match. With his 202nd delivery, Maxwell passed Brad Young for the most balls needed by an Australian to claim his first ODI wicket then promptly claimed two in consecutive balls, albeit two overs apart. He ended with 4-63.