Handscomb’s gritty innings reminiscent of Deano’s tied Test heroics

Kersi Meher-Homji Columnist

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Expert

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    Watching Peter Handscomb’s heroic innings in the Chittagong Test against Bangladesh on Tuesday reminded me of Dean Jones’ never-say-die double century in the Chennai tied Test in September 1986.

    When Steve Smith fell for 58 on the second day of the must-win Chittagong Test, Australia were 2-98, still 207 runs behind Bangladesh’s 305. Another wicket and there was a possibility of another collapse.

    But Handscomb (69 off 113 balls) prevailed for more than two hours in intense heat to add 127 runs with David Warner (88 off 170 balls) at stumps on day two.

    Handscomb was drenched in perspiration and fighting dehydration but battled on regardless. Icepacks were applied overnight as he lost quite a few kilos in the Chittagong humidified incubator.

    Yesterday he went on to score 82 in 185 minutes off 144 balls before he was run out.

    By adding 152 runs with centurion Warner for the third wicket, Handscomb was behind Australia gaining a first-innings lead.

    Australian batsman Peter Handscomb

    (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

    Exactly 31 years ago I had witnessed another heroic innings in the Chennai Test against India. It was by Dean Jones, popularly known as Deano.

    The Test famously ended in a tie, only the second tied Test in the history of the game after the Brisbane thriller between Australia and the West Indies in December 1960.

    The Chennai thriller will be remembered as Dean Jones’ magnum opus. In intense heat, he hit 210 runs but looked a spent force after reaching his ton.

    He was dehydrated and had lost control of his bodily functions but captain Allan Border urged him to continue.

    Deano batted for eight and a half hours, faced 330 balls and hit two sixes and 27 fours. Totally exhausted after his marathon innings in intense humidity, he needed saline-drip in a hospital.

    It was the first Test of the series. Border won the toss and declared at 7-574. Deano added 158 runs for the second wicket with David Boon (122) and 178 for the fourth wicket with Border (106).

    Skipper Kapil Dev hit a gallant ton and India replied with 397. Greg Matthews, surprisingly wearing a jumper throughout in the unbearable heat, took 5-103.

    Border again declared at 5-170, setting India 348 to win.

    Opener ‘Sunny’ Gavaskar, playing his 100th consecutive Test, batted superbly to score 90 and India was close to a surprise win at 6-331. Only 17 runs needed.

    But spinners Ray Bright and the erratic genius ‘Mo’ Matthews bowled magnificently capturing five wickets each and India’s last bat Maninder Singh was declared out lbw to Matthews and the match ended in a tie.

    Many still feel it was a wrong decision. But there was no DRS then.

    Will the Chittagong Test end in a tie as well?

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • September 7th 2017 @ 8:11am
      Scuba said | September 7th 2017 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      People comparing Handscomb’s innings to Jones’ do a great disservice to Deano. A quick glance at the stats in this article proves why.

      • September 7th 2017 @ 12:14pm
        Stuart Neil Bywater said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

        Hi Scuba,
        Dean Jone’s famous Chennai innings sets an Australian benchmark for courageous innings. It is fitting that subsequent courageous innings refer to Jone’s double ton (and indeed Alan Border’s role). Referring Handscombe’s innings to DJ’s “magnum opus” celebrates both innings but maintains the ascendancy of Jones innings and its rightful place in Australian cricket lore.

        KMH, another engaging article as always. Has anyone matched Sunny’s feat of 100 consecutive tests? The Border-Gavaskar trophy acknowledges arguably the finest captains of both countries.

        On another tangent, Dave Warner showed great maturity in his response to the unfortunate action of Nasir Hossain during Pat Cummin’s dismissal. Rather than faux outrage, Warner suggested that regrettable actions occur in the (intense tropical) heat of the moment and that the match officials should manage it. Perhaps, the Australian cricket community should allow the Bangladeshi cricket authorities to manage this matter.

        Steve O’Keefe batted with admirable patience and an understanding for the game situation. Bangladesh appear to have a slight edge due to batting third despite Australia’s 70 runs lead. O’Keefe and Lyon’s batting today will significantly influence the Test outcome.

        Interesting to collection of JH’s when John Hastings proposed Jon Holland as a replacement for Josh Hazlewood. Perhaps this may have happened if Jim Higgs was still a selector.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 4:35pm
          Kersi Meher-Homji said | September 7th 2017 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

          Thank you Stuart Neil Bywater for the compliment.
          Gavaskar was the first to play 100 consecutive Tests. The record is now held by Border (153 consecutive Tests), Cook (144 and still going), Mark Waugh (107), Gavaskar (106) and McCullum (101) among “centurions”.

        • September 7th 2017 @ 4:35pm
          Kersi Meher-Homji said | September 7th 2017 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

          Stuart, I like your JH coincidence!

        • September 16th 2017 @ 9:05pm
          Brian George said | September 16th 2017 @ 9:05pm | ! Report

          Stuart Neil Bywater aka Andyndia Dutta perchance?

          • Roar Guru

            September 17th 2017 @ 12:18pm
            Anindya Dutta said | September 17th 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

            Brian – I shall take this as a compliment given Stuart’s eloquence which I shall be hard pressed to match in my writing ?

    • September 7th 2017 @ 9:22am
      twodogs said | September 7th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Handscombes woes did remind me of Joneses epic. The difference though is Joneses innings was one the greatest you’ll ever see due to the circumstances, at the very least.
      Warner if anything probably should be the most affected given he spent more time in the middle. So in effect Handscombe has nowhere near Warners level of fitness.

      • September 8th 2017 @ 6:24am
        Perry Bridge said | September 8th 2017 @ 6:24am | ! Report


        I gather part of the issue with Handscomb was the amount of time spent under the helmet fielding in close prior to batting – but certainly – at that point Warner had fielded and batted for every minute of the game.

    • September 7th 2017 @ 10:19am
      Mike Dugg said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

      Jones scored more than twice as many runs. No comparison

    • September 7th 2017 @ 10:46am
      AGordon said | September 7th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

      It seems safe to assume Handscombe was not helped by spending over a day wearing a helmet fielding in a close in position which demands high concentration. He would have already been losing the liquids, prior to his batting.

      I hope they don’t put him in close again, at least not for prolonged periods, in Bangladesh’s second innings

    • September 7th 2017 @ 12:11pm
      Christo the Daddyo said | September 7th 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

      All credit for Handscomb for his efforts, but trying to compare that innings with Jones’ is just insulting to Deano!

    • September 7th 2017 @ 6:37pm
      Steve said | September 7th 2017 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

      Yea, but about 130 runs shy of what Deano scored

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