Hard going early before Handscomb hits stride
PETER Handscomb has once again defied doubts over his technique to prove he is a Test cricket survivor.
A vast percentage of Handscomb's run-scoring came from nudges and deflections behind the wicket on Saturday night, but his innings could be as crucial as any played in the match.
Handscomb and Shaun Marsh recaptured their fighting stand in Ranchi earlier this year where they saved a Test against India, to ward off the menacing danger of the swinging pink ball under lights and hand Australia a massive points-victory over the captaincy of England's Joe Root.
On too many occasions over recent years, when David Warner and Steve Smith have fallen, Australia have been two out all out.
But Handscomb (36 not out) and Marsh (20 not out) on Saturday night showed their credentials as they charged towards a 50-run stand that could prove the turning point in the second Test.
Handscomb was undone by Jimmy Anderson in the first Test in Brisbane and critics started to question whether that would be a theme for the series.
On Saturday, Handscomb looked far from comfortable when he arrived at the crease, with England's seamers consistently liking their chances of hitting his stumps and pads as he moves across his crease.
Commentators observed something wasn't right. But as his Test average of 50 would attest, Handscomb found a way.
"I'm a big fan of Pete Handscomb but he's all over the shop at the moment," said Chris Rogers on ABC.
"(He's) not putting any pressure back on the bowler."
Nine expert Michael Slater analysed Handscomb's technique in detail and noted that the Victorian is making a major trigger movement across his stumps - something that was keeping England interested.
However, it failed to pay off and Handscomb kept fighting.
Usman Khawaja (53) said the partnership of Handscomb and Marsh was inspiring, given the carnage that can transpire under lights.
On a day five pitch in Ranchi against a rampant Indian spin line-up, Handscomb and Marsh put on a massive 100-run stand to prevent almost certain defeat and push that series into a fourth-Test decider.
"A lot of credit to both of them. It's a tough time to bat. Petey batted beautifully," said Khawaja.
"He's obviously different the way he goes about it. Shaun himself (was outstanding). It's a tough time to come out and if you can come out unscathed, you can cash in a bit more the next day.
"It always seems easy, but it's not."