Australia vs India 2018-19: When sledging turned foes into friends
Be it the unsavory "chin music" which Sourav Ganguly faced Down Under or the "monkey-gate" episode involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds, an India-Australia series has always stood out for the intense clash of two distinct 'cricket cultures'.
But the Border-Gavaskar Trophy of 2018-19 was different. Unlike past instances when things often hit rock bottom, the moment players of either team engaged in a war of words, this time both teams displayed how to master the art of sledging minus the 'animosity'.
The historic series that saw India become the first Asian team to conquer the Aussies in their own backyard in a Test series was a hard fought one. India, however, dominated the last two games.
A bit of "chit-chat" was par for the course, and there were even occasions when things got sour. There was a particular moment in the second Test when the on-field umpire had to intervene after skippers Virat Kohli and Tim Paine got involved in a spat.
This happened despite the fact that both of them had vowed ahead of the series to refrain from crossing the line.
But thankfully it never got to a situation akin to the Border-Gavaskar Trophy of 2016-17 that was played in India. Kohli back then had ended up saying he was no longer friends with the Australian cricketers in the wake of Steve Smith's 'brain fade' moment.
This time both Paine and Kohli chose to play down the incident later. Paine even went to the extent of saying that he did not hold any grudge against Kohli, who was perceived to be the instigator.
"I love it and I am sure it's great to watch. At some point, you have to draw a line," Paine said. "Stump mics and cameras...these things are totally irrelevant. It stays on the field," is what Kohli had to say.
Rishabh Pant: The chatterbox who won hearts both on and off the field
The talented wicket-keeper cum batsman can talk! The chirpy character took over from the commentators for a complete over and he could be heard unleashing a volley of taunts over the stump microphone towards Pat Cummins when he was batting.
This happened in the opening Test, and Pant continued in the same vein throughout the series. His counterpart and Australia captain Paine too was not far behind. But the tipping point came when Paine asked Pant whether the latter would like to babysit his kids.
"I can take my wife to the movies while you watch the kids," Paine had asked mockingly. The reply came from Bonnie Paine, wife of Tim Paine, who shared a photograph along with Pant and her kids on Instagram with the caption: "Best babysitter".
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2018-19 has shown the world that it doesn't always have to be ugly snarls and sour press bytes. Kohli, Paine and Pant showed that it is possible to breathe down the neck of your opposite number on the field and follow it up with a friendly chat over a cup of coffee, or for that matter any other beverage, when the action shifts from the 22 yards.