Australia captain Tim Paine became embroiled in a sledging spat with India counterpart Virat Kohli on the fourth day of the second Test in Perth.
Paine pledged to tone down any words on the field following his appointment as skipper, in a bid to clean up the Australian team’s image and win back the public’s support after the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa earlier this year.
Kohli had also indicated before the series that he would only take part in sledging if Australia started it.
But those views soon went out the window as the pair clashed out in the middle, having first exchanged words the previous evening.
Umpire Chris Gaffaney was forced to intervene during the morning session, stepping in to come between the two players after Kohli questioned Paine’s batting technique.
Kohli, walking in close to the wicket, then complained to the umpire when the duo came inches away from chest bumping as Paine raced through for a quick single.
Former Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson told Fox Cricket: “Coming into the series and saying he (Kohli) wouldn’t initiate these kinds of stoushes and we saw a lot of that yesterday, the initiation when the bowlers were doing well and getting into Tim Paine.
“Look, I don’t mind the battles out there but if you’re going to say something like that in the papers or in the media and go against your word you’ve to expect something in return.”
Paine then took things further when questioning whether the Indian players actually liked Kohli as he kept wicket during the tourists’ pursuit of 287 to take a 2-0 series lead.
The 34-year-old was heard on the stump microphone saying: “I know he’s your captain but you can’t seriously like him as a bloke?”
Surprisingly, Kohli did not receive a big send-off after edging Nathan Lyon to slip to depart for 17, leaving the tourists 48 for three.
They eventually closed the day on 112-5 and require another 175 runs to claim victory in Perth.