Peter Handsomb scored 82 and added an important 152-run stand with David Warner © Getty Images
Peter Handsomb scored 82 and added an important 152-run stand with David Warner © Getty Images

Australia had lost the first Test by 20 runs. Bangladesh registered their first ever Test win against the cricket giants. In the hot and humid Chittagong, Australia had the task to win the second Test in order to draw level in the 2-Test series. Bangladesh scored 305 and Australia were 98 for 2 when Peter Handscomb walked in. Australia’s habit of collapses hurt them in recent times, especially in the subcontinent. ALSO READ: Handscomb loses 4.5 kgs during his stand with Warner

The 26-year-old played one of his best knocks to register 82 and in doing so, he lost four-and-half kilograms. Handscomb battled the baking heat, humidity, the running-out fluids and the dangerous Bangladeshi spinners to add 152 for the third wicket with Warner. Eventually that partnership decided the fate of the game as Australia registered a 7-wicket victory to ensure another series wasn’t lost in the subcontinent.

In a chat with cricket.com.au, Handscomb recalled the Chittagong horrors.

“It was just ridiculously hot,” Handscomb told cricket.com.au. “Even though the temperatures may have been late 30s, which is something we’re quite used to in Australia, because it had been raining on the days leading up to the game the heat was basically coming from underneath you, coming out of the ground because the water was evaporating. I was just getting nailed heat-wise from both the ground and the sky and couldn’t get enough fluids in to make myself feel better, and then if I drunk a little bit too much I started to feel sick. We fielded first in both games, so already you are pretty cooked going into your first batting innings. Just standing out there in that heat, that sun – it takes it out of you.

“At each break I had to change all my clothes because they were just drenched with sweat. I’m just a natural sweater … it was just taking it out of you and you couldn’t replace the water you were losing.” recalled Handscomb.

It was tough concentrating in the heat but that was the need of the hour. It helped having an experienced Warner at the other end.

“We had a couple of sentences that we’d say to each other between overs to make sure we were switching on and focusing on each ball that was coming down. It was just basically ‘keep going’. Then if one of us played a poor shot or wasn’t quite on for a certain ball we’d walk down and again repeat those sentences just to make sure it wasn’t going to be the weather that was going to get us out; we had to make sure it was going to be a good ball,” Handscomb added.

In a short career, Handscomb has proved to be a vital part of the Australian Test set-up. From 10 games, he has 743 runs at over 53. Handscomb revealed that the weather challenges made him focus “harder”. He ensured that it’s not heat that gets him out.

“It was a weird one, because as it was all going on and I was struggling in between balls, it really made me focus on every ball that was coming down. Almost focus harder (than usual) because there was this drive to be like ‘don’t let the heat get me out, it’s got to be a good ball to get me out’. There was this big drive to concentrate each ball. That helped but in between balls it was quite tough. Trying to control the sweat and trying to cool myself down was almost impossible,” he said.

It is a shame that Handscomb fell to a run-out, 18-short of a well-deserved century. Warner raced to his 20th Test hundred, while Handscomb missed what could have been his third in this format. He accepted the run out was his fault and he was frustrated.

He has already saved the Ranchi Test along with Shaun Marsh earlier this year and played a significant part in ensuring Australia’s rare win at subcontinent that eventually came at Chittagong.