Lehmann hails 'gutsy' Handscomb and Warner

The Australia coach praised the fight shown by the two batsmen on an extremely hot and humid day in Chittagong

Brydon Coverdale
Brydon Coverdale
Peter Handscomb and David Warner put Bangladesh on the back foot, Bangladesh v Australia, 2nd Test, Chittagong, 2nd day, September 5, 2017

Peter Handscomb and David Warner put Bangladesh on the back foot  •  Getty Images

It wasn't quite at the levels of Dean Jones wetting himself and vomiting in the Madras heat on his way to a double-century in the tied Test of 1986, but Peter Handscomb was still forced to draw on all of his physical stamina on the second day in Chittagong. The extreme heat and humidity made the partnership between Handscomb and David Warner, which had reached 127 by stumps, all the more impressive as Australia tried to fight their way back into the series.
The sight of Handscomb batting in a wide-brimmed white hat - an extreme rarity in these days of helmets and the occasional baggy green - and then on his haunches, struggling with the heat, could not fail to conjure memories of Jones' epic innings. Of course, the difference is the small matter of 140-odd runs; Handscomb went to stumps on 69, with Warner on 88, and Australia need more from the two men on the third day, with their deficit still at 80 runs.
And while Handscomb's innings was impressive, Warner's was particularly notable for his restraint: at the close of play he had occupied the crease for 170 deliveries and had struck only four boundaries. The application of both men made their stand the biggest not involving Steven Smith by an Australian pair in Asia since the 2014 series against Pakistan in the UAE, when Warner and Chris Rogers put on 128 for the opening wicket in Dubai.
"Really gutsy, obviously it's pretty hot out there, we saw that yesterday and you have to work really hard for your runs," Australia's coach Darren Lehmann said after play. "So to get through and the way they played was excellent. They're in the ice baths now and we'll leave them with the medical team to get them right for tomorrow. Very special day and hopefully tomorrow they can kick on.
"It's really just focusing on each ball and trying to get through. I thought they used their feet really well, playing forward and back, made good decisions and towards the end of the day, it was just about getting through each ball and just take your time. The umpires handled it really well and so did the Bangladesh team to make sure they're right to play."
Handscomb's innings came after there was pre-match speculation that his part-time wicketkeeping could be employed in place of Matthew Wade, who had struggled behind the stumps and with the bat in Mirpur. However, Lehmann said that if Handscomb was to keep wicket it would be difficult for him to take such a responsibility in the batting order.
"If he did it that way he probably couldn't bat as high," Lehmann said. "At the end of the day he's picked to bat No. 4 or No. 5 for Australia and we want him making runs. I thought Matthew Wade answered his critics really well in this game - a great stumping, a couple of catches, so that was pleasing for Matthew as well."
Despite the strong show from the Australians on the second day in Chittagong - Nathan Lyon completed his fourth Test haul of seven or more wickets, before the batsmen reached 225 for 2 - plenty of work remains on a surface that is expected to become tougher to bat on as the match wears on.
"From the first Test it's a totally different wicket," Lehmann said. "But that's not our choice. If that's what Bangladesh want to do, that's well within their rights. I thought it would turn more, no doubt. They obviously beat us on a pretty big turner in the first Test but it's played pretty well so far. I think it'll break up and still turn as the game goes on."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale