Bailey led an Australian team without Michael Clarke, David Warner, Matthew Wade and Michael Hussey into the first 50-over game of the summer at the MCG on Friday night, and couldn’t have been happier with how the group stepped up after the 'B Team' jibes in the lead up.
Top-three batsmen Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja all made their debuts with Hughes the undoubted star making 112. Bailey himself was outstanding with 89 from just 79 balls with David Hussey chiming in with an unbeaten 60 off only 34 deliveries.
That helped Australia make 5-305 from the 50 overs and then the home side bowled out the Sri Lankans for just 198 in 40 overs with Clint McKay the star with the ball taking 4-33.
Bailey was playing just his 14th one-day match for Australia and his 89 was his highest score, and the 30-year-old was delighted to lead a team where so many players stepped up to shut up those that was questioning the side selected.
"There were some pretty good horses left out of it and I think they will be right, but the challenge is to make it as difficult for the selectors when they pick the team and to have that depth so that when an injury does occur you know other guys can step in," Bailey said.
"It was a really great team effort to stand up on the back of some criticism from outsiders, and some people who thought we weren’t up to it. Hopefully we have put those doubts to bed and the next challenge is to do it consistently, and go up two-nil."
There was precious little that Bailey didn’t like about the performance with Hughes setting the tone as he became the first Australian debutant to score a century in one-day cricket.
"It's a great start and it was a good all-round team performance with Hughesy leading the way. That was a really important innings," he said.
"To have three debutants at the top, where you want the majority of your runs to come from, it was great and for Hughesy to lead from the front with a big hundred was really important. We backed it up with a really good fielding effort.
"Three run outs will always have you ahead in the game and there was some really solid performances from the bowlers. I thought it was a really good team performance."
With three debutants in the side plus the inexperienced Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc and Xavier Doherty, Bailey was also glad to have veteran wicket-keeper Brad Haddin return to the side, and felt he helped keep the young group grounded on and off the field.
"One of the challenges with the group is the lack of experience so having someone as composed as Brad not only on the ground, but off the ground as well with the way he sets up and prepares for the game is great to have around," Bailey said.
"I know I take a lot out of it personally so I'm sure the debutants and guys with less experience would get a lot out of how he is as well.
"He kept beautifully and even the way he batted was important. I thought Sri Lanka actually bowled quite well at the back end of our innings, but he and Huss just found a way to keep that score ticking over which was really important to get the score up towards 300."