Bailey hits world-record 28 off over

George Bailey, Australia’s newest Test player, has joined Brian Lara in the history books by equaling his world record of 28 runs in a Test over. Bailey’s assault came off the bowling of James Anderson in the final over of Australia’s second innings at the WACA and matched Lara’s mauling of Robin Peterson at the Wanderers, which occurred ten years ago almost to the day.

Bailey, who was playing his third Test, could have been forgiven for batting conservatively given that he has yet to really cement his place in the side, but followed the team plan for quick runs to allow Michael Clarke to declare once the lead passed 500. His attack against a bowler of Anderson’s quality and Test experience highlighted the gulf that has grown between the two sides this series and pleased his team-mates no end.

“We didn’t know it was a record,” Shane Watson said after stumps. “There’s no doubt we’ve had quite a few bad experiences against Jimmy Anderson. To see that is always nice to have the shoe on the other foot, because he’s certainly had the upper hand on a lot of our batsmen in the Ashes series that I’ve been involved in … at certain times individuals in the Australian team have been at his mercy. It certainly provided a little bit of enjoyment for us.”

Watson had already thrilled the crowd with a sustained assault on the England bowlers earlier in the session, his best over having brought 22 when he launched Graeme Swann down the ground for three sixes. But Bailey’s efforts were all the more remarkable given Anderson’s pace, and brought to mind the way he has played in his highly successful one-day international career.

He began with a hard cut that flew over the slips and ran away for four, then followed up with a straight six that cleared the sightscreen at the Prindiville Stand End. A two clipped through the leg side followed, and then came a better-placed swat through square leg for four. Bailey finished the over with two more sixes down the ground, one that just cleared long-off and another that sailed much further into the crowd at long-on.

Anderson was unable to find a length that stopped Bailey from getting under the ball but Clarke’s declaration at the end of the over prevented any further carnage, although Anderson and his team-mates still looked dejected as they left the field facing a chase of 504. Bailey was left unbeaten on 39 from 30 deliveries; he had started the over with 11 from 24 balls.

Anderson now holds the unwanted record of most runs conceded by a fast bowler in a Test over, the previous record having been the 25 that Andy Roberts took off Ian Botham at Port-of-Spain in 1980-81. Australia’s previous record for most runs in an over was the 26 that Mitchell Johnson – Bailey’s partner during the over – clubbed off Paul Harris at the Wanderers in 2008-09.

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