Perth, Dec 17: Both Australia and India downplayed an incident between Tim Paine and Virat Kohli during day four of the second Test in Perth, insisting it was "just good banter" between the two captains.
Having had a verbal exchange at stumps the previous day, the two captains again shared words before lunch during Monday's play, leading to umpire Chris Gaffaney stepping in to diffuse the situation.
Paine did not immediately heed Gaffaney's request, with television footage picking up him telling his opposite number: "Keep your cool, Virat."
Kohli responded only with a smile, and team-mate Mohammed Shami – who claimed Test-best figures of 6-56 – insisted after the close that neither party were in the wrong.
"It is a part of the game. You play Test cricket for a long time; players might get carried away in the moment," he said.
"If there's no sledging, you might not enjoy the game as much. When there's aggression, more people will come to watch the match."
Paine attempted to stir the pot again during India's second innings later in the day, as he was heard on the stump microphone asking Murali Vijay a question about Kohli.
"I know he's your captain, but you can't seriously like him as a bloke?" Australia's skipper said to the opening batsman.
The home side's behaviour is in the spotlight following the ball-tampering issue on the tour of South Africa earlier this year and a subsequent independent review into Cricket Australia that branded the organisation "arrogant" and "controlling".
Yet Josh Hazlewood felt what happened between team-mate Paine and India's Kohli was "all in good spirits", particularly as the game was in the balance at the time.
The paceman also made clear Australia's players understand there is a line that should not be crossed in terms of their behaviour on the field.
"I think it was all good fun," Hazlewood said. "It's quite competitive out there as you know, and there's going to be words from time to time, but it was all in good spirits, I think.
"I think at stages in a game it is going to get heated from time to time.
"I think we are pretty confident that we can hold that line that we have talked about as a group. It's more in the heat of the moment, definitely not a ploy to attack any batsman at any stage. It has been really good so far. Just good banter.
"I don't think we read too much into it. We go about our work as we see fit and the Indians can do what they like.
"We control what we control, and our behaviour is what we control. We'll worry about that and let everything else take care of itself."
India, who won the first Test in Adelaide to go 1-0 up in the four-match series, reached the end of day four on 112-5 in pursuit of a victory target of 287.