Paine relishes the Kohli battle

Virat Kohli and Tim Paine had some testy exchanges in the second of the India vs Australia Test series at Perth, which at one point needed the umpire to intervene.

Virat Kohli (centre) and Tim Paine react during the second Test at Perth.   -  REUTERS

Australia skipper Tim Paine said he is relishing his sometimes heated battle with animated Indian counterpart Virat Kohli, and promised “intense, hard” cricket in the crunch Boxing Day Test at Melbourne.

The pair had some testy exchanges in the second Test at Perth, which at one point needed the umpire to intervene.

And Kohli offered only a frosty handshake at the end of the game, which Australia won to level the four-Test series 1-1, refusing to meet Paine's eye in a move blasted by some as disrespectful.

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But Paine said he appreciated that Kohli never liked to lose. “A lot was made of my battle with Virat in the second Test, and for the past few years when I haven't been playing international cricket, he was one guy I loved watching,” he said in a column for Melbourne's Herald Sun.

“Now to be out in the middle going head-to-head with him in a Test series is something I'm really relishing.”

Paine said he was not annoyed “in the slightest” by Kohli looking straight past him at the handshake.

“Virat is someone who is prepared to wear his heart on his sleeve and like all professional athletes, hates to lose,” he said.

“I like the way Virat plays. I don't know him personally but I've always admired — not only his obvious skill as a player — but the passion and aggression he plays with. People like to see that and he gets fans through the gates.”

Read: India can still win Test series, feels Sourav Ganguly

Kohli's antics in Perth, where he also failed to acknowledge the crowd's applause after he was controversially given out in the first innings for 123, brought a stunning rebuke from many quarters.