Handscomb hopes for long-term Test spot

Updated: 

Peter Handscomb is eyeing a long-term spot in Australia's uncertain middle order after an encouraging debut fifty in the third Test with South Africa.

Handscomb - one of three debutants in Australia's top six - put on 99 runs for the fourth wicket with centurion Usman Khawaja (138 not out), who led a revival in Adelaide to leave the home side on 307-6 at stumps, enjoying a lead of 48 runs.

Call-ups for Handscomb, Matt Renshaw and Nic Maddinson came in the wake of Australia's first-innings 85 all out in the previous Test, hinting at a side in crisis.

But Handscomb showed flashes of security and style in his 78-ball knock before he was bowled on 54 by a Kyle Abbott delivery that jagged off the seam and cut through his defences.

The 25-year-old said he was "very determined" to take advantage of the shake-up in Australia's side to get a regular spot in the Test team.

"There is that chance there to try to cement a spot in the middle order, which I'll be trying to take with both hands," said the 25-year-old. "I'll just go out there and do what I do and hopefully that will be enough.

"It was an amazing platform they set, especially Matt on debut. It was a great testament to him. He went about playing his own way, playing his own game and hopefully that'll continue to work for him. 

"Uzzy [Khawaja] did an amazing job last night and today. They set that platform where the middle order were able to come in and still wait for that bad ball, but we were able to try and jump on it and score as many runs as we could."

Handscomb said watching the supreme ease with which Khawaja dealt with South Africa's attack gave him confidence in his own game.

"He's seeing the ball really well and his movement patterns are great," he added.

"Batting out there with him was awesome because he just kept it really calm. In between overs, we discussed what we think the bowler's trying to do and from there we developed our own plans. He was very collected and very calculated.

"He never looked flustered out there even if the ball beat his outside edge, he'd just go back, do his routine and do what he was doing all day, keep backing his process. It was awesome to watch."