Handscomb remaining grounded after stellar start to Test career

Peter Handscomb could be forgiven for thinking Test cricket is an easy game, but Australia's in-form newcomer has reflected modestly on his productive start at the highest level.

Having been called up as one of several debutants in response to his country's humiliating defeat to South Africa in the second Test in Hobart two months ago, Handscomb has yet to be dismissed for less than 50 in six innings to date.

The Victorian struck 110 on day two of the third Test against Pakistan in Sydney, his second hundred for Australia.

Yet Handscomb is grounded enough to acknowledge he could easily have suffered a similar fate to Nic Maddinson, who also made his debut against South Africa in Adelaide only to be dropped after two disappointing outings.

In a reference to his maiden Test innings of 54 against the Proteas, in which he was beaten all ends up by Vernon Philander first ball, Handscomb said: "It is a game where timing is almost everything. To throw a cliche in there, it's a game of millimetres.

"[If] I nicked that first ball off Philander in my game at Adelaide, I'm out for a golden duck in my first Test, so [it's a case of] what could have been - but it hasn't, which has been really lucky for me.

"I've just been happy that I have taken the opportunities to make the scores I have."

Handscomb has looked comfortable against Test bowling - something he feels is partly down to the standard of pitches utilised at the highest level.

He added: "I've been very lucky in the way that I've come in [to the team] in my own conditions, in my own country, so I had a good understanding of what was going to be coming at me. And in Shield cricket the wickets aren't as good as they are in Test cricket, so when you take that next step you're getting flatter wickets as well, which is awesome from a batting point of view.

"It's been nice - had I debuted somewhere else it could have been a completely different story."

Pakistan reached stumps on Wednesday trailing by 412 on 126-2 in reply to Australia's 538-8 declared.

"We just need to come out [on Thursday] and keep that pressure on," said Handscomb. "It's gonna' be a real tough grind, the wicket's pretty good. Hopefully a few footmarks start to appear and our spinners can come into it and crack this game right open."

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