The Tottenham winger scored his 10th goal for his country with a smart finish as he made full use of Joe Allen's lovely lofted pass in the 21st minute. The hosts had to survive some nervy moments, notably when Emanuel Pogatetz had a header wrongly ruled out for offside and David Alaba struck the post.
However, Bale made another telling contribution with a pin-point cross for substitute Sam Vokes to head home early in the second half. Captain Marc Janko pulled a goal back for Austria but Wales held on for a valuable win, and Coleman said: "There are not many players that can do what he does."
He added: "The cross for the second goal was great, he is such a threat and we know when we have him in the team we can afford to go without the ball for periods because he is such a danger when we get it to him.
"He changes the feel of a game and he is a big plus for us when he is playing on that form. He did two things tonight that not many players can do."
Coleman has endured a difficult first year in charge, claiming just one win from seven games before Wednesday night. But he will have been pleased to see his side finally play with a fluidity that had been sorely lacking, and restore some confidence ahead of next month's World Cup qualifiers against Scotland and Croatia.
For that the former Fulham boss will be grateful to Bale, who has now scored seven goals in his last nine internationals, and he tormented the Austrian defence with his trademark power and pace before being withdrawn on the hour mark.
And the 23-year-old told Sky Sports: "It is important to get a victory, especially at home and hopefully that will give us confidence heading into the qualifiers. We know Scotland is a massive game. We have not had the start to our campaign that we would have wanted, but we are going to fight all the way to get as many wins as we can."
While Coleman was able to play Bale and Craig Bellamy together for the first time in over a year, he had to do without Aaron Ramsey after the Arsenal midfielder pulled out with an ankle problem. But he does not believe the injury is too serious, although he is unsure if Ramsey will be fit for the Gunners' clash with Sunderland on Saturday.
"I dont know if he will be ready for the weekend, it's a tough one but maybe if his calf setles down," said Coleman. "We maybe could have played him tonight but if something happens and we send him back injured it is not ideal. We are trying to build relationships with clubs."
- Sports & Recreation