Victoria 4 for 103 (Harris 61*, Bell 4-22) trail Tasmania 172 (Bailey 106, Ahmed 4-68) by 69 runs
Glenn Maxwell could make only four in his penultimate chance to impress the national selectors before Australia’s squad for the first Ashes Test is named, but the former international batsman George Bailey provided a reminder of his quality in compiling a lone-hand hundred on a day for bowlers at the MCG.
After a pair of 60s against South Australia in the second round of the Sheffield Shield, Maxwell was this time unable to resist pushing hard at a nicely pitched away-swinger from Gabe Bell, edging behind after coming in to bat at No. 3. Bell’s sharpish swing and seam reduced the Victoria to 4 for 25 before Marcus Harris and Daniel Christian steadied the innings in the final hour.
Bailey’s 106 of a Tasmania total of 172 was a masterful effort when only one other team-mate – Jordan Silk getting to 36 before playing over a full toss from Fawad Ahmed – could get past 10. This time four years ago, Bailey was about to be named to bat at No. 6 for Australia in the Ashes series, and played in all five matches of the hosts’ memorable 5-0 sweep of England.
However he was dropped after the series and has drifted from international calculations in recent seasons, despite possessing an outstanding ODI record in particular and being only a few months older than Shaun Marsh, who has again been touted as a possible contender for an Ashes batting berth this summer.
Bailey was fighting a rearguard action almost from the moment he came to the crease at the fall of Alex Doolan, bowled by Chris Tremain. Tasmania included both Tim Paine and Test incumbent Matthew Wade, with the former batting at No. 4 and the latter keeping the gloves. Neither was able to have much impact with the bat however, Paine lbw to Tremain for a duck and Wade spending 42 balls for five runs, taking a big swing at Peter Siddle and being bowled.