For AUS sake, Peter Handscomb recalls his battle with killing Chittagong heat
Peter Handscomb, who contributed with a gritty 82 in the Chittagong Test but lost 4.5 kilograms due to the intense heat and humidity, has recalled the day and said the conditions were the toughest he had faced.india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 13, 2017 15:58 IST
In a space of a few months, Peter Handscomb has played two knocks that will define him as not only one of the grittiest batsman, but also the one who can do whatever it takes to get the job done.
In Ranchi, he combined with Shaun Marsh to defy Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to help Australia secure a draw. At Chittagong, he produced an innings which had focus and application. In tough conditions, he kept pushing his body to the greatest extent possible.
It was an innings in which Handscomb lost a staggering 4.5 kilos of body weight in a matter of a few hours, battling a battery of Bangladeshi spinners as well as heat and high humidity, even though the Australians are used to playing in high temperatures back home.
Recalling his struggle on that day, the 26-year-old right-hander told cricket.com.au, “It was just ridiculously hot. 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. I couldn’t get enough fluids in to make myself feel better. If I drank a little bit too much, I felt sick. We fielded first in both games, so already you’re pretty cooked going into your first batting innings. Just standing out there in that heat, that sun — it takes it out of you,” he added.
Handscomb had joined forces with David Warner at a time when Australia were placed firmly in the game, but they needed to score more than Bangladesh’s total of 305 in the first innings in order to make a strong return in the two-Test series in which they had already lost the series opener.
Handscomb and Warner did not disappoint. They added 127 runs at an aggressive run rate to wrest control of the proceedings, but there was a price to pay.
While Warner remained focussed to play for as long as possible, it was Handscomb who went a little more aggressive than what the conditions demanded.
Handscomb revealed the limits to which he had to adjust to the conditions. “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.”
“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,” the right-handed batsman added.
He did manage to outscore Warner at one point of time, but as the play progressed Handscomb started suffering from extreme heat and humidity, which forced him to go down on his knees several times. He had to be attended by the medical officers, and even the Bangladeshi players kept running to him to check on his status.
Handscomb said he and Warner decided to keep pushing on each other, and spoke specific sentences at the end of overs to keep going on.
“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 revealed.
Handscomb may have played two superlative innings — a 200-ball 72-run knock at Ranchi and a 144-ball 82 at Chittagong — but he missed out on a century on both occasions. While at Ranchi there was not enough time in the game for Handscomb to score his century, he was run out on the other occasion.
Handscomb said, “It was completely my fault. You want to get your mate to a hundred but in the grand scheme of things it’s one run. It’s actually quite frustrating to get out that way because if we were just relaxed we were going to get the single at some stage and I didn’t really need to back up that far to get the single.”