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We haven’t started with Virat Kohli yet

Virat Kohli

Melbourne:  Not the least bit annoyed with Virat Kohli’s aggression both on and off the field, Australian cricket coach Darren Lehmann said the home side is liking the charged up atmosphere created by the newly-appointed Indian captain.

Kohli will lead the side in the fourth and final in Sydney starting January 6 after Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced a shock retirement from Test cricket after the drawn third Test here yesterday.

India have conceded an unassailable 2-0 lead to Australia in the four-match rubber.

When asked if the Aussies had elicited a similar response from Kohli in Melbourne as the Indians got from Mitchell Johnson in Brisbane after sledging him, the Lehmann teased, “Oh we haven’t even started with Virat Kohli yet.”

After the laughter died down, he added in a serious tone, “It has been an interesting series. As long as it stays on the field though, we don’t mind. In fact we are happy that both sides are going to play hard cricket. It is pleasing from an Australian point of view because that is how we want to play. But we also want to leave it on the field and not bring it outside.”

“What transpired was between Kohli and Mitchell Johnson. As long as there are 90 overs bowled in a day, and the players stay focussed on the game, these things can go on. The series is being played in a tough, competitive spirit and I am fine with it,” he added.

Lehmann then brushed off any criticism of his team’s late declaration on day five of the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The hosts had declared their innings closed at 318/9 at lunch and set India a target of 384 runs in 70 overs for victory. The visitors finished at 174/6 with Dhoni holding fort at stumps.

“We won the series, didn’t we? That was pretty important on the day for us. But were we really defensive? Or were India defensive with their tactics? They had five men on the fence, instead of letting us score and declare quickly and getting on with chasing the game,” said the coach.

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