'Ranchi was toughest to bat'

'Ranchi was toughest to bat'

Marsh and I believed we can pull off a draw: Handscomb

'Ranchi was toughest to bat'

Middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb, who played a crucial role in salvaging a draw for Australia in the third Test, says his unbeaten 72-run knock came in the “toughest conditions” he has ever played in.

Starting the final day at a nervy 23/2, still needing 129 runs to avoid innings defeat, Australia lost two more wickets in the morning session. However, they managed to hold on and force a draw, thanks to Handscomb and Shaun Marsh’s (53) gritty vigil at the crease.

“That’s definitely up there with the toughest conditions I’ve played in,” Handscomb was quoted as saying by ‘ESPNcricinfo’. “A Test wicket on day five in India against the two best spinners in the world is obviously going to be tough, and it’s great that myself and Shaun could find a way. Especially Shaun. He had to deal with the rough outside off stump to (Ravindra) Jadeja for most of the day which is an unbelievable effort from him to survive as long as he did, which was great for the team,” he added.

Handscomb, during his short seven-Test career so far, has made two centuries, three half-centuries and has been not out on four occasions.

“In terms of plans or anything out there, we didn’t really have much to say to each other. We kept coming to the middle of the wicket and saying ‘yeah, you good?’ and it was like ‘yeah, I’m good’, and into the next over. We both had our own plans and that’s what we were going to go with.”

Having put on a vital 124-run partnership with Marsh on the final day, Handscomb said they always believed they could force a draw.

“Yeah it was pretty awesome. To get into that position that we were in wasn’t great to start with, but I think we always had belief in ourselves that we could definitely hold on for the draw. I think we’ve all been batting well this series, so if it wasn’t myself or SOS (Marsh) to stand up in this Test it would have been someone else after us to come in do their job because we have been backing ourselves and we are all feeling really good,” he said.

Handscomb revealed that he was hoping Kohli to call the draw earlier, but felt the sustained pressure of the last day in Ranchi would stand him in good stead in the final Test in Dharamsala, starting Saturday.

“I’ve said before that I have been feeling good over here so far and just been finding ways to get out so it was nice to get that feeling of batting time, facing a lot of balls out in the middle. That helps coming into the next Test having that self-belief, knowing that now I can do it and making sure I can do it next Test as well,” he said.