<
>

Handscomb pushes Test case with timely ton

Victoria 2 for 292 (Dean 134*, Handscomb 110*) v New South Wales
Scorecard

Peter Handscomb looms as a possible inclusion in Australia's squad for the third Test in Adelaide after scoring a timely century for Victoria on the first day of their Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales at the SCG. Handscomb finished the day unbeaten on 110, while opener Travis Dean batted through the whole day and went to stumps on 134, as the Bushrangers ended on 2 for 292.

Dean's patient innings - he occupied the crease for 274 deliveries - will also have caught the attention of selectors looking to overhaul Australia's batting order following their crushing losses to South Africa in Perth and Hobart. However, Handscomb appears a more probable candidate for immediate inclusion, with Adam Voges unlikely to retain his place for the Adelaide Test.

Australia captain Steven Smith and vice-captain David Warner were both in the field as Handscomb compiled his unbeaten 193-ball innings, the ninth century of his first-class career. At 25, Handscomb now has 60 first-class matches to his name, and was Man of the Match in last year's Sheffield Shield final.

His past 11 first-class innings read: 112, 61*, 4, 14, 137, 87, 24, 78, 10, 60, 110*. In that time, which stretches back to March, Handscomb has averaged 77.44. One of the other contenders for a middle-order Test position is New South Wales batsman Kurtis Patterson, who will have his opportunity later in this game.

Handscomb used his feet to the spin of Steve O'Keefe and Nathan Lyon, and struck 12 fours and one six during his unbeaten 225-run partnership with Dean. They had come together at 2 for 67 after Trent Copeland had opener Marcus Harris caught behind by Peter Nevill for 28 and Marcus Stoinis edged O'Keefe to slip for 11. Lyon, who is considered under some pressure to hold his Test place, took 0 for 88 from 27 overs.

Dean's hundred was his fourth in first-class cricket - two of those came on debut last summer, and the other was in Victoria's Sheffield Shield final win in March. Although there are other candidates should the selectors decide to axe Joe Burns from the Test opening position - Cameron Bancroft and Matt Renshaw particularly - Dean's effort at the SCG was a timely reminder of his talents.