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India vs Australia: Paine Loving Heated Kohli Battle and Promises 'Hard Cricket' at Melbourne

AFP |December 24, 2018, 8:30 AM IST
India vs Australia: Paine Loving Heated Kohli Battle and Promises 'Hard Cricket' at Melbourne

Australia skipper Tim Paine said Monday he is relishing his sometimes heated battle with animated Indian counterpart Virat Kohli, and promised "intense, hard" cricket in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne.

The pair had some testy exchanges in the second Test at Perth, which at one point needed the umpire to intervene.

And Kohli offered only a frosty handshake at the end of the game, which Australia won to level the series 1-1, refusing to meet Paine's eye in a move blasted by some as disrespectful.

But Paine said he appreciated that Kohli never liked to lose.

"A lot was made of my battle with Virat in the second Test, and for the past few years when I haven't been playing international cricket, he was one guy I loved watching," he said in a column for Melbourne's Herald Sun.

"Now to be out in the middle going head-to-head with him in a Test series is something I'm really relishing."

Paine said he was not annoyed "in the slightest" by Kohli looking straight past him at the handshake.

"Virat is someone who is prepared to wear his heart on his sleeve and like all professional athletes, hates to lose," he said.

"I like the way Virat plays. I don't know him personally but I've always admired -- not only his obvious skill as a player -- but the passion and aggression he plays with. People like to see that and he gets fans through the gates."

Kohli's antics in Perth, where he also failed to acknowledge the crowd's applause after he was controversially given out in the first innings for 123, brought a stunning rebuke from veteran Bollywood star Naseeruddin Shah.

He described him as "not only the world's best batsman but also the world's worst behaved player". But coach Ravi Shastri hit back on Sunday, calling Kohli "an absolute gentleman".

Paine said he liked to play in a similar way to the Indian superstar but was not as outward in his emotions.

"We all play at this level because we love the contest and his combative style and the way he backs himself is how he gets up," he added.

"My mantra as Australian captain is you have to be yourself. I know I lead and perform better when I stay calm under pressure."

With the four-match series tied, the stakes are high for the third Test starting Wednesday, and Paine said he expected India to come out firing: "I think day one in particular is going to be really intense, 'hard' cricket."

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

Pos Team P W L T/NR PTS NRR
1
IND
9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
2
AUS
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
3
ENG
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
4
NZ
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
5
PAK
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
6
SL
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
7
SA
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
8
BAN
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9
WI
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
10
AFG
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more