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Handscomb stakes middle-order claim

'There is a chance to cement a spot in the middle order, which I'll be trying to take with both hands' - Peter Handscomb Getty Images

Peter Handscomb's mother was in tears at the sight of her son notching a Test match fifty on debut, but Australia's new No. 5 stated plainly after stumps that he does not wish this day to be the high-point of his international career.

Helped greatly by the platform Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith built on the first evening and second afternoon, Handscomb was able to showcase his batting method - crease-bound defence allied to adept shots all around the ground - while skating through a 99-run stand with Khawaja. He hopes it will be seen on plenty more days.

"Very determined," Handscomb said when asked how determined he was to make a midde-order berth his own after the raft of recent changes to the Test side. "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. 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 got a good idea of what Test match batting should look like from Khawaja, who made his own debut in 2011, the same year Handscomb first played for Victoria. "He's seeing the ball really well and his movement patterns are great," he said.

"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."

Normality can be hard to come by in the week a cricketer first receives his baggy green, but Handscomb said the presence of numerous friends in town for the occasion had helped to keep his head from expanding too much.

"A few of my mates have been coming in and having a coffee before the game," he said, "which is nice to get away from what's going on around me. You can keep a level head, which is good.

"As I was going out to bat as well, the mates were off to the side yelling all sorts of stuff. It takes your mind off what's happening, you go out and try to play with freedom."

As for mum, Handscomb wasn't aware of the tears, but looked forward to a catch-up. "I didn't actually know that, I haven't been able to speak to her yet or see her," he said, grinning. "Looking forward to getting back to the hotel. Going to see how she's going and hopefully she's feeling alright."