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Australia axe George Bailey from squad to tour South Africa

George Bailey: Omitted from Australia squad to tour South Africa

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George Bailey has paid the price for a poor Ashes series after being omitted from Australia's 15-man Test squad to face South Africa.

The 31-year-old was arguably the only failure of the home side's 5-0 whitewash of England after averaging 26.14 with just one half-century in eight innings.

Bailey plundered a world record-equalling 28 runs in a single over when he clubbed James Anderson all over the WACA at Perth in December, but it was clearly not enough to redeem him in the eyes of the Australian selectors.

John Inverarity explains the decision to drop George Bailey from the Australia squad for the Test series against South Africa

Uncapped batsman Alex Doolan, who was on standby for the fifth Test in Sydney, and the in-form Shaun Marsh will now vie for the number six spot in the three-match series against South Africa, which gets under way on February 12 in Centurion.

Marsh played the last of his seven Tests in January 2012, but has been given another chance to make his mark following impressive showings both domestically and in one-day internationals.

National selector John Inverarity said: "We believe this is a strong squad with sufficient flexibility for this great challenge of taking on the world's top ranked Test team.

Difficult decision

"George Bailey, who played an important role in the Test team that defeated England 5-0, has been overlooked for this tour. This was a difficult decision, but on this occasion we felt Alex and Shaun have games that are well suited to facing South Africa in South Africa.

"We consider that both are strong players of pace bowling which is important given the strength of South Africa's attack. Alex was on standby for the recent fifth Test in Sydney and scored a most impressive 165 not out against South Africa for Australia A last season.

"Shaun is a talented batsman who is striking the ball very well at the moment. He has the technique and potential to do well."

Left-hander Phillip Hughes had been tipped to follow Marsh in being recalled by Australia, but Inverarity added: "On this occasion these two batsmen were preferred to Phillip Hughes who we feel is best suited to a top order position.

"Phillip remains a highly regarded batsman whose time will come."

James Pattinson and Jackson Bird have been selected ahead of Nathan Coulter-Nile to provide back-up options for the first-team pace trio of Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle.

Pattinson is working his way back to full fitness after being struck down by a stress fracture of the back midway through the Ashes series in England and only returned to international action in Sunday's one-day win over Alastair Cook's men in Sydney.

Australia: Clarke (captain), Haddin, Bird, Doolan, Faulkner, Harris, Johnson, Marsh, Lyon, Pattinson, Rogers, Siddle, Smith, Warner, Watson.