In the second Test in Perth however, it has been the developing feud between the two captains that has help provide the subplot to another enthralling match.
Paine and Kohli clashed several times on days three and four, with the on-field umpires deeming it necessary to intervene on a few occasions.
Having engaged in a verbal exchange late on day three of the second Test, Australia and India’s respective captains again traded barbs during Monday’s morning session. Virat Kohli and Tim Paine were giving each other some choice words on day four of the second Test.
It had been reported by some Australian media outlets Kohli had made a comment to Paine about his status as Australia captain during play on the fourth day.
“There are reports doing the rounds in the media and across social media platforms claiming India Captain Virat Kohli got involved in a banter with Australia Captain Tim Paine during the 2nd Test at Perth,” the statement on the BCCI website read.
“It is ‘assumed’ that Kohli said, ‘I am the best player in the world and you are just a stand-in captain’. These claims were based on hearsay and the BCCI would like to bring into notice that no such words were spoken on the field by the Indian captain.
“The BCCI got a clarification from the team management about the incident and would like to classify the reports as baseless.”
Stump microphones picked up plenty of banter between the opposing captains during play on the fourth day, with the two skippers coming face-to-face while Paine was at the crease in Australia’s second innings.
The two were even seen and heard sledging each other on Sunday when Paine was batting in the final session.
“If he messes it up, it’s 2-0,” Kohli was heard saying, which was picked up by the microphone after he and his teammates made a loud caught-behind appeal for Paine in the final over of the day.
Paine did not hold himself back and replied “You’ve got to bat first, big head”.
The stump microphones picked up Virat Kohli saying, “if he messes it up, it’s 2-0,” while referring to the Test series lead. Tim Paine promptly replied: “You’ve got to bat first, big head”.#AUSvIND #Kohli #INDvAUS #PerthTest #ViratKohli https://t.co/bwmy5rSTOK pic.twitter.com/fMjOZjhHyG
— CriketGeek (@CriketGeek) December 16, 2018
“You’re the one that lost it yesterday. Why are you trying to be cool today?” Paine was heard saying to Kohli.
Those verbal barbs continued on the morning of day four, with umpire Chris Gaffaney eventually coming between the pair as Paine and Usman Khawaja frustrated India with a 58-run, wicketless first session of the day.
Kohli: “I’m not saying a word to you, why are you getting riled up?”
Paine: “I’m fine. You’re the one that lost it yesterday, why are you trying to be cool today?”
Gaffaney: “Oi, that’s enough.”
Paine: “We’re allowed to talk.”
Gaffaney: “Nah, come on, play the game. You guys are the captains.”
Paine: “We can have a conversation … there’s no swearing.”
Gaffaney: “Tim you’re the captain.”
Paine: “Keep your cool, Virat.”
After being dismissed, Paine was given a full send off by the Indian skipper, with what was said not being picked up on the broadcast, however the on-field treats didn’t stop there, with Paine delivering the final word to Kohli via Murali Vijay.
The tense Tim Paine versus Virat Kohli narrative took an unexpected turn on Monday evening despite the Indian captain not being directly involved.
Following 24 hours of skirmish and lukewarm sledging between the skippers, Paine landed the knockout blow when he whispered to Murali Vijay “I know he (Kohli) is your captain, but you can’t seriously like him as a bloke?”.
This cheeky sledge from Tim Paine to Murali Vijay – picked up on stump mic – was the Australian captain’s cheeky barb that followed his counterpart’s dismissal.
Virat Kohli was seen laughing in dressing room after Tim Paine’s comment about him but he was unable to reply.
Paine delivered his subtle sledge with a wry smile on his face following the dismissal of Kohli for 17 off 40 deliveries.