PUNE, India - George Bailey described Australia's shock upset to draw first blood in the one-day series with India as huge — but concedes he can't quantify just how important it will prove to be.
Heavy underdogs coming into the seven-match series, Australia stunned India in game one with a comprehensive 72-run victory.
Bailey's role in the victory cannot be understated, with his exceptional innings of 85 off 82 balls the ideal counterweight to Aaron Finch's aggressive 72 which set Australia off to a flying start.
Then Bailey, who is filling in as captain for the injured Michael Clarke, shrewdly read the momentum of the game and reintroduced bowlers at key times to maximum effect and threw in a terrific catch to remove Ravindra Jadeja (11) for good measure.
The end result was India's powerful batting line-up was bowled out for 232, well short of Australia's total of 8-302.
"I think it's huge," Bailey said after the match.
"We'll wait and see (just how big an impact winning first will have). It's such a long series so I don't know how important winning the first game is."
Australia's victory was, in a sense, death by a thousand cuts.
There were no true standout performances, with Bailey admitting even his impressive knock had flaws — he was disappointed to fall short of a second ODI century.
In addition to Bailey and Finch's key half-centuries, Phil Hughes added 47 in a 110-run opening stand, while Glenn Maxwell scored a fast-paced 31.
Australia's seam bowlers shared the wickets around, with James Faulkner cashing in with 3-47.
Mitchell Johnson (1-38) jagged the key wicket of dangerman Yuvraj Singh (7), while the death knell sounded when Clint McKay (2-36) rattled the stumps of Indian skipper MS Dhoni (19).
Dhoni admitted he felt Australia had batted their way into an unbeatable position, believing 260 was a par score in the Pune wicket.
Much of the praise was for Hughes and Finch, whose century stand to open the match set the tone for the Australians.