Melbourne, Dec 29: Unfazed by Virat Kohli's aggressive body language on the field and no-holds-barred criticism off it, Australian opener David Warner today said the Indian is free to play the way he wishes and the ICC is there to manage if anybody crosses the line.
Australia have the upper hand in the ongoing third Test, having accumulated a 326-run lead at the end of the fourth day today. Tempers are also rising with Kohli taking on the Aussies with his own brand of aggression, going to the extent of stating that he only respect some of the home players after a showdown with Mitchell Johnson on more than one occasion.
Even today, Johnson was given quite a sendoff by the Indian players after being dismissed. "I didn't see what they said to Mitchell Johnson but obviously Kohli was lurking around Brad Haddin. If that's the way he wants to go about his cricket then let him be. At the end of the day we also play cricket the aggressive way. Though I personally feel that whatever happens in the field should stay on the field. It shouldn't be brought off the field," he said.
When asked about Kohli's lack of respect comments made yesterday, Warner replied, "That's his opinion as he had got 160-odd runs. So let him say what he wants to say. Whether it's the right thing to say or not, it's up to him. There is a line you cannot cross and it is for the ICC to manage with their fines and warnings. When we talk about sledging and stuff, physical contact and verbal swearing is where we draw the line."
Warner says Australia need few more runs
Talking about the match situation, Warner said his team needs more runs before it can think about declaring and setting a target for India. The hosts finished their day at 261/7 with a handy lead of 326 runs.
"We need a few more runs than what we have got on the board. Shaun Marsh is batting very well and Ryan Harris is still there, so we hope he can produces a knock like in the first innings. After that we will assess once we are all out," said Warner.
"It's still a very good batting wicket I think. The ball is coming on nicely and there is not much sideways movement though. As the ball gets older and softer there is a bit of reverse swing as you saw later today. That's probably going to be the key when we start our day with the ball, to try and take ten opportunities. That's the way we are going to try and win the game," he added.
Warner wary of India's batting
Australia are wary of the threat Indian batting poses especially given that the wicket isn't misbehaving much like the one in Brisbane or a lot like the one in Adelaide.
"We saw in the Adelaide how well they fought and luckily we got breakthroughs or it would have been a different story. They would have been 1-0 up. We know what their batting line-up is like.
"We saw how Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane put a great partnership together in the first innings. That's there in the back of our minds. We know the positive brand of cricket they are playing now. When we have the opportunity then only we will try and take those ten wickets," said the left-handed opener.
"I felt that Ishant Sharma is probably the best of their bowlers. With R Ashwin drying up one end, he was bowling in the right areas especially to the left-handers. He let the ball go across and with the older ball he managed to get reverse swing to go both ways. He bowled very well today and he has been a big part in the last three Tests," he added.