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It was all in good spirits, says Josh Hazlewood on Virat Kohli-Tim Paine altercation

"I am the best player in the world," Virat reportedly said to Paine.

Virat Kohli and Tim Paine
Virat Kohli and Tim Paine. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The inaugural Test at the new Perth Stadium will be remembered for a number of things and one among them is the continuous verbal exchange between the captains of India and Australia – Virat Kohli and Tim Paine, respectively. The exchange was particularly visible during Paine’s batting in the second innings which even saw on-field umpire Chris Gaffaney interfering and asking both to calm down, even reminding them that they are the captains. This happened on Day 4 of the game after Kohli stood too close to Paine standing at the non-striker’s end.

Even Paine’s dismissal right after the lunch break when Kohli took his catch in the slips off Mohammed Shami’s delivery led to a lot of talking in the middle. India came back strongly into the game in the second session and took Australia’s last five wickets for 51 runs. But the joy was shortlived as chasing 287, the visitors faced yet another batting debacle and ended the day at 112 for 5, requiring another 175 runs on the final day with their top five back into the hut.

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Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood, however, said in the press conference after the day’s play that all the verbal duel on the field between the two captains took place in a light spirit. “I think it was all good fun, it’s quite competitive out there as you know and there’s going to be words from time to time but it was all in good spirits,” Hazlewood, who took two top wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the second innings, said.

“I don’t think we read too much into it, we go about our work as we see fit and the Indians can do what they like. We control what we control and our behaviour is what we control. We’ll worry about that and let everything else take care of itself.”

Pujara wicket was big

Virat Kohli, who scored a century in the first innings but was frustrated over his dismissal which he thought was not one, did not last long in the second innings and the fall of his wicket put India in a distress during the chase. An average Australian fan would see the net result of all the on-field drama eventually affected Kohli as well but Hazlewood said Australia were not targeting a single player and felt Pujara’s wicket was big.

Australia are trailing the four-match series 0-1 but have a big opportunity in Perth to square it before going all-out on the Boxing Day clash in Melbourne.

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