‘Had to show him we’re here to fight’: Tim Paine recalls sledging encounter with Virat Kohli
In the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in April 2018, the Australian cricket team was desperate to win back the fans’ trust. A strict play tough but play fair policy was introduced by new coach Justin Langer and captain Tim Paine. The new Australian team followed that to perfection in their first limited overs tour after the sandpaper gate to England and continued it in the two-match Test series against Pakistan in UAE. But Paine revealed they were kind of forced to resort to back to sledging and banter when India toured Australia later that year as India captain Virat Kohli had got under their skins with his celebrations.
On day four of the second Test at Perth, Kohli and his Australian counterpart Tim Paine were involved in a verbal spat. This happened after Kohli had celebrated a couple of Australian wickets a bit more animatedly than usual. That was time Paine thought he had enough.
“He had given send-offs to a few of our players. I sort of just had enough and thought you also have to stand up for yourself and your teammates and that was one of the reasons I thought, ‘no, I’m the captain, it’s my turn, I have to stand up and show him we’re here for the fight’,” Paine said in Amazon’s docu-drama ‘The Test’.
Paine was at the receiving end just after he had gone out to bat. “If he messes it up, it’s 2-0. Who’s gonna talk then?” Kohli was caught saying by the stump microphones.
Paine did not hold himself back and replied: “You’ve got to bat first, big head”.
“I remember that afternoon (feeling) like a punching bag. We can’t fight back because it felt like we had our hands behind our backs and we just had to take it,” Australia head coach Justin Langer said.
Australia eventually won that Test match by 146 runs to draw level.
The Virat Kohli-led side, made a roaring comeback to win the third Test at MCG by 136 runs. The final Test at SCG was drawn and India won their first-ever Test series in Australia to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. It was followed by a 2-1 victory in the ODIs, while the T20 series ended in a 1-1 draw.