A mid-match debrief with Chris Rogers has helped Peter Handscomb post an unbeaten century at Bankstown Oval, where he defied NSW’s star-studded attack to salvage a Sheffield Shield draw for Victoria.
The captain’s knock of 124 not out from Handscomb spanned 327 deliveries and 435 minutes, ruining the Blues’ hopes of victory on day four in Sydney.
Handscomb’s first Shield century of the season, coming 783 days after he most recently donned the baggy green, also sent a reminder to national selectors.
The 29-year-old exhibited steely determination against Test bowlers Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon, dragging Victoria from 1-73 to a total of 4-270.
Handscomb, who agreed to shake hands with opposing skipper Peter Nevill at 4.27pm (local time) on Sunday, revealed the defiant knock came after a technical tune-up with Victoria coach and former Test opener Rogers.
“We had a nice little chat between the first and second innings,” Handscomb said.
“I brought a few things to his attention and he backed them up. We came up with a clear plan.
“Simple stuff, going back to basics.
“Stuff that he’s seen me do for years.
“He’s great to bounce ideas off. I used to do that a lot when I was playing with him … he’s always thinking about the game, how you can get better.”
Matthew Wade’s dumping has created a vacancy at No.5 in Australia’s Test XI.
Handscomb remains out of favour with Australia’s selectors, having most recently represented his country at the 2019 World Cup.
But a productive finish to the Shield season will ensure the former Test batsman is in selectors’ thoughts ahead of next summer’s Ashes.
“My job is just trying to win games for Victoria,” Handscomb said.
“If anything happens at the next level, that’d be great.
“But that’s not my focus.”
The right-hander batted cautiously on a pitch that offered limited assistance for Cummins and Lyon, admitting if it were “slightly different wicket” then the match may have played out differently.
Test spearhead Cummins, playing his first red-ball game since earning man-of-the-series honours at the Gabba, finished the game with two wickets after toiling for 23 overs during the Vics’ second innings.
“Quite a docile wicket,” Nevill said.
“You lose 60 overs out of the game (because of rain) … ideally the wicket would have got a lot more sun and traffic, broken up, spun a lot more and brought Gaz (Lyon) into the game.
“We’ve always said we’d love to play every game at the SCG, but that’s just not feasible.”