Handscomb closing in on record
PETER Handscomb is batting like he's been playing Test cricket for a decade.
And the stats prove it.
After making 54 at the MCG - his third-straight half-century - the 25-year-old became the first Aussie since Michael Bevan in 1994 to make a 50 or more in each of his first three Tests.
The Victorian made 54 on debut in Adelaide, before peeling off a maiden debut ton in Brisbane a fortnight later in his second Test.
His average reached 124 at the MCG before he was dismissed and it now sits at a healthy 83.
Just four Australians before Handscomb have reached 50 or more in each of their first three Tests, with Invincibles opener Bill Brown (1934), Herbie Collins (1920-21), Frank Iredale (1894-95) and Bevan the others.
Of this quartet, only Collins reached his half-century in a fourth-straight Test, meaning Handscomb can equal an Australian record if he raises his bat at the SCG against Pakistan in the third Test.
The last batsman to score 50-plus in each of his first four Tests since debut was Pakistani Umar Akmal in 2009.
If Handscomb intends to break the international record, it will have to come in the third Test against India in March.
Because while there have been 34 batsmen across all countries to make 50s in each of their first three Tests, the all-time record of six straight half-tons is held by four players: Sunil Gavaskar (India) in 1971, Basil Butcher (West Indies) in 1958-59, Saeed Ahmed (Pakistan) in 1958-59 and Bert Sutcliffe (New Zealand) in 1947-51.
Given that record is still more than three months away, Handscomb has every right not to concern himself with it.
But if he arrives at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi on the morning of March 16 with his run of 50s intact, there will be plenty of others reaching for the record books.