Virat Kohli, Steve Smith Banter Excellent Advertisement for Test Cricket

Image credit: Getty Images.Image credit: Getty Images.

Image credit: Getty Images.

New Delhi: Over the years, pundits have often questioned India skipper Virat Kohli for getting involved in verbal duels on the pitch. While they have at times felt he overdoes it, at others he has been tagged immature. But what transpired between Kohli and Steve Smith in the opening session of the second day’s play at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday was nothing short of excellent advertisement for Test cricket.

Former cricketers have in the last couple of years called for ways to make the longest format of the game more interesting for the crowds in the stadium as well as viewers following the action on television or the internet. But a friendly banter between Kohli and Smith on Sunday morning was enough to get the Bengaluru crowd on their toes.

It all started in the 22nd over of the morning when Smith hit the first ball he faced off R Ashwin and pushed it past the bowler to mid-on for a quick single. Even though it wasn’t a direct attempt from Matt Renshaw to come in the way of Ashwin as he tried to stop the ball at the non-striker’s end, the verbal volleys started.

Smith was quick to join the bus as he and umpire Nigel Llong came in to stop both Ashwin and Kohli from having a go at the young Renshaw. From here on, it was a direct exchange of words between the two skippers. But interestingly, neither of the two crossed the line.

Things got a little more intense in the next few overs as Ishant Sharma started to get into the skin of the Aussie skipper. Bowling a beautiful line, he kept mocking Smith and the later wasn’t ready to take a back seat. Every time he let the ball go, Smith would have an exaggerated movement of the arms to further instigate Ishant.

In fact, India skipper Kohli could be even seen enjoying the banter as he kept laughing and smirking on and off. The two continued their little chat as they went into the drinks break.

Again, the best part was the fact that both the players could be seen having fun and enjoying the intense battle going on in the middle. Not for once did either of the two captains lose their cool. The crowd too enjoyed themselves as they egged on the Indian bowlers as they bowled their heart out in tough conditions.

Commentating for Star, even former Australia skipper Michael Clarke enjoyed the intensity in the middle as he said: “Kohli and Smith are going at it. Between overs Virat was into Smith. It looks like Smith is going back as well.”

Former India Team Director Ravi Shastri too echoed the same sentiments.

“There’s constant chat there. Kohli and Smith, there’s plenty of banter going on there,” Shastri said on air.

After the end of the first hour’s play, only 21 runs scored with India picking the wicket of David Warner. Even though there were few boundaries scored and not really a flurry of wickets, it was one of the most enthralling sessions of Test match action.