India captain Virat Kohli on Tuesday said there was no swearing or personal attacks during his verbal duel with Australian skipper Tim Paine and no line was crossed in the second Test.
The second Test, which India lost by 146 runs, turned out to be a heated affair with Kohli and Paine engaging in a never-ending war of words, which even prompted umpire Chris Gaffaney to step in on the fourth morning on Monday.
“Well, it is definitely nothing compared to 2014 to be honest,” said Kohli referring to the 2014 Test series where he was engaged in heated exchanges with some Australian players.
“As long as there is no swearing on the field, and there’s no personal attacks, the line doesn’t get crossed. That’s it!.
“But look, in competitive spirit it stays on the field. I am not going to go into details but to be honest it’s not of importance for me to speak on and it’s something that’s done,” he said after India were dismissed for 140 in the second innings.
Kohli had scored a 123 in the first innings but his dismissal of a controversial catch in the first innings came under scrutiny but the Indian skipper simply shrugged off any suggestions that he had expressed displeasure at the soft signal.
“I don’t think I showed any displeasure at the dismissal at all. Appeal was made on call and that’s it. It was done, Australia played better cricket than us and they deserved to win,” he said.
Kohli credited Australia for outplaying India, saying his batsman failed to come up with the goods, especially in the second innings.
“In the second innings, I thought we couldn’t apply ourselves as much as we should have. In the first innings, we were committed and fully determined in our batting effort and there was no shortage of that,” Kohli told reporters.
“But I will say that Australia played better cricket than us and they played more consistently. That’s why then won the match. Beyond that, I don’t think I need to over-analyse this game, we are still in a very good space. If we show greater composure, we can repeat what we did in Adelaide.
“We are looking forward to Melbourne now. This Test match is done, the series is poised well and both teams have played good cricket. I think everyone should look forward to that … our focus is definitely on MCG Test,” he added.
The poor form of openers Murali Vijay and KL Rahul was one of the reasons behind India’s failure in the second Test.
Kohli, however, said that they are fully backing the openers to come good and haven’t thought of a new opening combination with Mayank Agarwal inducted into the Test squad Monday in place of injured Prithvi Shaw.
“We didn’t announce that we are going to have a new opening combination,” Kohli said when asked about induction of Mayank Agarwal for the Boxing Day Test.
“You just have to keep backing them and keep telling them that they belong and they are good enough to perform. It is not even giving someone individual goals. It’s just telling them that this is what we require as a team from the opener,” he said.
“I think as a batting group, we have spoken a lot about those things. Executing it or not is again a thing of variables in a sport. I am sure that these guys have figured out what has gone wrong in this game, specially, and they are very keen to correct it themselves.
“There’s not much that you can say, to be honest. You just have to be confident as a side and individuals to a certain extent have to take responsibility of that. The guys are obviously looking forward to taking that responsibility,” he added.
Kohli said there was never a lack of belief even when they were 112/5 at stumps on day 4 chasing 287 to win.
“… cricket is a game of variables, you can’t win every time. But there was definitely no sense of lack of belief,” he said.
“Even with Rishabh Pant and Hanuma Vihari overnight, they believed that they can get big partnership and win us the game. So, I think the belief is very important to have.