When two fiery characters collide, there is bound to be some friction and the inevitable exchange of words. At a critical point in the opening day of the third Test between India and England at Mohali, skipper Virat Kohli and the flamboyant all-rounder Ben Stokes found themselves involved in a verbal spat.
The incident happened after Stokes was dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja in the post lunch session. Upon dancing down the track, the left-hander got deceived by the drift and comeback man Parthiv Patel completed the stumping without any fuss.
Just as he began to trudge back to the dressing room, Stokes looked back hoping for the umpire to check the no-ball. An amused Kohli mouthed, ‘What’, before pointing his finger at him and saying something which seemed to annoy the all-rounder.
Not one to shy away from a confrontation, Stokes held his ground. Unhappy with his costly shot selection which resulted in a crucial wicket for India, he had no choice but to withdraw from the argument half-heartedly. Sensing that the situation needed his intervention, umpire Marais Erasmus brought some calmness to the proceedings by having a work with Kohli.
Needless to say, the Indian captain tried to convince the umpire that his verbal exchange with Stokes was not untoward and instead only stemmed from the usual gamesmanship. He did not have anything to complain though as the southpaw’s dismissal opened up the middle-order at the right time.
Catch the highlights of the verbal exchange between Kohli and Stokes here
Apart from reaping the reward for maintaining relentless pressure on the batsmen, Jadeja’s stifling line had presented the hosts with a much-needed breakthrough. Jos Buttler stepped into the firing line and joined the solid Jonny Bairstow. Showing no signs of the rustiness created from being consigned to the sidelines, the attacking right-hander put on 69 runs for the sixth wicket to raise hopes of a substantial score.
But, Jadeja and Kohli were at it once again While the former kept bringing Buttler onto the front foot, the latter anticipated smartly to secure the catch. The visitors slipped further when Bairstow could not account for the turn and perished to Jayant Yadav after a well-made 89.
Eventually, England ended the day at a below par 268/8 even as the Indians got back on the ascendancy despite losing the toss. However, things could have panned out differently had Stokes resisted his urge to up the ante. With 262 runs from five innings at an average of 65.50, he has been the joint-second most run-getter in the series thus far and was looking for another significant knock.
It was not the first time that Stokes has gotten involved in a verbal exchange. He has had quite a few interesting interactions with the mercurial Marlon Samuels in the recent past. Meanwhile, Kohli himself is also no stranger to announcing his intentions on the field as evidenced by the episodes with Steve Smith and Lendl Simmons.