Domain Tests v India
Kohli catch reaction 'pretty ordinary': MJ
Ex-Test nemesis criticises India skipper for failure to acknowledge Perth crowd after ton and not fronting press post play
19 December 2018, 10:00 AM AEST
Former Test quick Mitchell Johnson has labelled Virat Kohli's conduct after his brilliant second Test century as "pretty ordinary", suggesting the controversy surrounding his dismissal was only heightened by his subsequent behaviour.
Kohli's superb first-innings 123 on a wild Perth Stadium pitch was overshadowed by his exit, a low catch taken by Peter Handscomb at second slip that was tentatively deemed out on field, a decision confirmed by the third umpire after a lengthy deliberation.
The India captain initially shook his head after Handscomb claimed the catch and confidently made an 'out' signal with his finger, but Kohli showed no overt signs of unhappiness as he walked off.
It proved a telling – and divisive – moment in the captivating match, with his dismissal sparking a collapse of 5-32. After taking a 43-run first-innings lead, Australia went on to win the Test by 146 runs to level the Domain series 1-1.
Johnson not only panned Kohli for failing to acknowledge the Perth crowd's rousing applause as he walked off the arena, he also criticised his former sparring partner for not fronting the press at day's end.
"I actually had friends in the crowd who I'd spoken to about this - they said there was a standing ovation for him, he'd made a brilliant hundred, got his team back in the game and he didn't raise his bat or acknowledge the crowd," Johnson told The Unplayable Podcast.
"I thought as a player, not just as a captain, that's pretty ordinary and it's disappointing.
"And then not to turn up to press conference - when you score a hundred … and there's a bit of controversy, as the captain you should stand up for your team, get in there, basically squash it and move on.
"But now it's been talked about, it keeps continuing, he's put a young player – (fast bowler Jasprit) Bumrah – up into the fire and I just don't think it was a very good thing to be honest.
"It just looked like he was not too happy with the decision and he's dragged it out and just made it all about him."
Asked if he regretted his conduct when he did face the media two days later at Test's end, Kohli said: "I don't think I showed any displeasure at the dismissal at all.
"A (decision) was made on field and that’s it. Australia played better cricket than us, they deserved to win."
Nathan Lyon said there'd been no doubt in the Australian camp Kohli was out, but Bumrah admitted India's dressing room had been "a little surprised" by umpire Kumar Dharmasena's soft signal of out.
Former players were split on whether the catch had been clean.
Ricky Ponting insisted the right call had been made, Mike Hussey initially indicated he agreed but conceded later that "some part of the ball was probably touching the ground" while Michael Clarke was certain it had touched some part of the grass.
Johnson admitted: "Those decisions are always going to be controversial.
"You never liked it as a player when you'd go upstairs for those catches because you always through it was going to get overturned.
"It just never looks right on TV, whether it's the pixilation on the TV screens or not, I don't know."
Kohli and Johnson had their fair share of on-field skirmishes before the Australian hung up the boots in 2015.
In 2014, Kohli indicated he'd lost respect for Johnson after the paceman struck the Indian with a throw he claims was intended to hit the stumps at the MCG.
"I apologised straight away because I hit him and it wasn't intentional," Johnson recounted.
"I said, 'sorry mate, it wasn't intentional, I was trying to hit your stumps' and he kind of just looked at me in anger.
"He came to me at the end of the over and said, 'you can't do that, you can't throw the ball back at me' and tried to stand over me and tried to say he was better than me and that I couldn't play the game my way and that I had to play by his rules.
"In the press conference that night I think he said that he had no respect for me.
"So that's where he lost me."
Domain Test Series v India
Dec 6-10: India won by 31 runs
Dec 14-18: Australia won by 146 runs
Dec 26-30: Third Test, MCG
Jan 3-7: Fourth Test, SCG
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Archie Schiller
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar