Before Ashton Turner changed Australia’s fortunes with a whirlwind knock of 84 runs, resulting in Australia’s biggest successful run chase against India, Peter Handscomb’s maiden hundred had put them on course for the stiff task.
The 27-year-old Victorian had a dismal Test series against India late last year after scoring just 68 runs in four innings. That was a wake-up call for the batsman, the first in Test history to have not been dismissed below 50 in his first seven innings.
After making his comeback in the ODI team during the India series Down Under — a recall prompted by his 361 runs in eight innings in JLT Cup, Australia’s domestic one-day championship — Handscomb has been in the scheme of Australian selectors for the upcoming World Cup. And the man with the unique stance did his prospects no harm with his maiden ODI century in the fourth ODI on Sunday.
“I am pretty happy about today’s knock. I had a stop-and-go start in ODI cricket and getting an opportunity at such a stage means that you have to take it. It was nice to get a hundred today in tough conditions and feels special. I have been working on my technique with former Test opener Chris Rogers since the last one year and felt I lost my straight drive and cover drive prior to that. We worked upon the basics and going back to some things in my technique. Cricket is still a fickle game and one has high and lows during a career. To get dropped from the Test team and now pushing my case for white-ball cricket and this century is good for me,” Handscomb said after the landmark match.
Quick wickets upfront
After the Indian team posting 358 in front of 27,000 fans, Australia had lost two quick wickets in the form of captain Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh. Handscomb and Usman Khawaja were associated in a 192-run partnership for the third wicket, with Handscomb contributing 99 of them and Khawaja 88.
Before the Victorian was removed by Yuzvendra Chahal for 117, he had scored 87 runs from 64 balls of the Indian spin trio of Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Kedar Jadhav. Handscomb showed his prowess against spin, hitting five boundaries and three sixes off them, facing only 13 dot balls from the three.
“Both Chahal and Kuldeep are very good spinners. The conditions were tough today for them as the ball started slipping from their hands due to dew. Despite that, they bowled very well and used their craft well changing the pace of the ball.”
“Facing a bowler like Kedar Jadhav is always tough as he does not give much bounce and getting under him is tough. But I was targeting the boundary at some stage. Jasprit Bumrah is also a world-class bowler and we respected him during his middle-overs spell. Later Ashton Turner brought some nice shots to put him in pressure and it helped us,” shared Handscomb.
When Handscomb departed in the 42nd over of the Australian innings, they still needed 88 runs off 54 balls but Turner smashed 58 runs off the last 25 balls he faced to level the series.
“To chase a total more than 350 facing India in India has to be certainly up there for us, it gives you so much confidence as a team and it is good before the series against Pakistan and the World Cup. I think it became a T20 chase once I departed. During the chase, we knew when to pull the trigger a couple of times and when to pull it down, and it worked well for us.”
“We all had seen Ashton play such knocks in the BBL and he knew whom to target in the last nine overs. We had a sort of belief at the start of the T20 series and to come and do it again in the ODIs proved that it was not a fluke,” he added.