Virat Kohli was calmly combative after his maiden Test hundred on Thursday. Not only did he say that it felt good to respond to Australia's sledging with runs and words, but he also held out hope of India winning, despite its grim situation.
Kohli, who has been at the receiving end of taunts from Australia's cricketers and abuse from the crowd, said he wasn't merely happy to let his bat do the talking.
“To give it back verbally and then score a hundred is even better,” he said.
“They (Australia) sledge when they get frustrated. Obviously it was hot out there. Constantly they were sledging so that they could spoil our concentration. During that partnership (between him and Wriddhiman Saha) they were really having a go,” he said, before speaking of the specific incident when he was on 99.
“(Ben) Hilfenhaus said something to me which was quite unnecessary. It was out of the blue. He wasn't even bowling. I had just survived a run-out on 99. He said something to me which I can't obviously say in the press conference. I gave it back to him, (I said) you didn't have to do anything why would you do it.
“Ishant and I both came together and got stuck into them and they got really pissed (off). I usually play my cricket like that and I like to give it back,” said Kohli.
He also addressed the issue of abuse from the crowd. “In Sydney, they were after me because I hadn't scored any runs, and today they were (angry) because I got a hundred. It hasn't changed; only the reason has.
“It is really, really frustrating at times, they say things which shouldn't be said on a cricket field.
“If they come here to enjoy a game of cricket, they should do that and not get drunk and abuse cricket players. It's not fair; if the players say anything they're fined and banned,” said Kohli, who was fined for a rude gesture to the crowd during the Sydney Test.
The 23-year-old batsman admitted that he wasn't in a good space after the Sydney Test. But he shut out the outside world, refused to read what was written about him, and constantly convinced himself that he was good enough.
“I always wanted to be a successful Test cricketer for India and hopefully this is the start for me,” he said. “I'm learning every game and as long as I can perform and learn at the same time, I'm going to become a better cricketer.”
Asked if India could save the match, Kohli said, “We are actually thinking about it in another way.
“The ball's turning square now and with Ashwin bowling well, you never know. If we can get two or three wickets early on in the morning, we still have two days of the Test to try and chase down the score they set.”