Apr 102013

Australia’s Twenty20 skipper George Bailey has found form early in his bid for Ashes selection, hitting 93 to rescue Hampshire in the opening round of the English County season.

Bailey’s new club had slumped to 0-2 against Leicestershire after both openers had been dismissed without scoring.

However in a fighting knock, Bailey shared a 141-run third-wicket partnership with Liam Dawson, breaking a record for Hampshire against Leicestershire that has stood for over 100 years and steering them to relative safety before rain brought proceedings to an early close.

His innings ended in bizarre fashion when he wandered out of his crease believing the over was finished.

Wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien then threw down the stumps with the mortified Bailey out of his ground and denied a valuable century.

“I thought it was over so wasn’t in a rush to get back,” Bailey said at stumps.

“It was a lapse of concentration. I have never been out like that before.”

Selectors earlier this month said Australia was unlikely to make drastic changes to the Test squad that was humiliated in India.

But given the lack of batting depth, the door is open to any Australian batsmen who can score runs in English conditions ahead of the five-Test series starting in Nottingham on July 10.

Bailey is one of a handful of Australian batsmen on the fringe of Test selection who will be desperate to standout in County cricket over the next two months.

Experienced Victorian left-hander Chris Rogers (zero not out) will resume at the top of the order for Middlesex in their fixture against incumbent Australian opener Ed Cowan’s Nottinghamshire.

Earlier on day one, Cowan dusted off the cobwebs by scoring 61 in a quick fire innings.

He hit his first three balls to the fence and posted his 50 in just 60 balls but didn’t last long after lunch as Nottinghamshire hit the skids to be all out for 278.

Bushranger Rob Quiney, bidding to regain his Test spot, is yet to bat for Essex against Gloucestershire.

First Posted 11 April, 2013 11:19AM AEDT

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