Shane Warne says Australian captain Tim Paine has become the leader everyone had hoped for.
Shane Warne says Australian captain Tim Paine has become the leader everyone had hoped for.

Warne: Australia have exposed a great Kohli weakness

WE have found our Australian captain. In the UAE Tim Paine was good and he got a big tick. But after Perth, his team now sees him as the captain.

I think the public see him as the Australian Test captain. And for himself, I think he now believes he is the Australian Test captain, which is the most important of the lot.

His sledge to Murali Vijay about Virat Kohli was terrific, too. Everyone talks about sledging and banter and gamesmanship, call it what you want.

But the best sledges I have ever heard, given or received have always had a touch of humour about them. Murali Vijay should have come back with "yeah I do, I was best man at his wedding".

I don't think anyone overstepped the mark in Perth and the umpires controlled it nicely. There was a little bit of toing and froing for position from the captains, and I like that. They were both standing up for their teams. There was absolutely nothing wrong with what either of them did.

You could see the Australian team lift in Perth, too. They showed it means a lot to them.

The team has had a terrible 2018, there's no denying that. But I saw a sense of relief in the faces of the players in Perth.

Tim Pain and Virat Kohli clashed during the second Test in Perth.
Tim Pain and Virat Kohli clashed during the second Test in Perth.

Now they are in a contest, against the best team in the world, with the two biggest Tests coming up in Melbourne and Sydney. And the biggest day for an Australian cricketer is Boxing Day.

It's 1-1, against India, there has been some banter, some fantastic cricket, and I can't remember a better series on these shores in a long, long time. I can't wait for Boxing Day. I think the players, from both sides, they can't wait either.

There has been a lot of talk about Virat Kohli after the Perth Test and for me it only confirmed he's the best cricketer on the planet with a terrific century and his theatrics are fantastic for the game.

His players grow taller around him because he drags the team with him and they enjoy playing for Virat. I think he has been terrific.

But what Australia have done well to him is to get him emotional.

Virat needs to find that balance between passion, aggression but still being calm and thinking clearly. If he can't do that, if he can't find that right level, then his team could get off track and lose focus.

If I were Ravi Shastri, the Indian coach, I would be pulling him aside and whispering in Virat's ear: "Don't change a thing, but don't let the Aussies get you too emotional."

Kohli is the key to this series.


There are still question marks over a few in the new Australian line-up, but Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris look a pretty good combination up the top.

It was such a shame Aaron Finch got hit on the finger in Perth.

I thought he was starting to look comfortable. He is only one big score away from being a Test opener, and knowing he is playing the next game, not playing for his spot.

Once he makes that big score, and I was hoping it was going to be in Perth, we'll see him play like he does at the top of the order in white ball cricket.

At the moment he is playing for his spot and any batsman playing for his spot, they don't play with the freedom they would when they are secure. Let's hope he can nail Boxing Day.

He loves the MCG, he's made big runs before, he'll feel comfortable. I am backing him in for a big Boxing Day hundred.

Will Aaron Finch deliver during the Boxing Day Test?
Will Aaron Finch deliver during the Boxing Day Test?


India missed Ravi Ashwin in Perth, or any spinner. They missed his batting at No.8 and his bowling.

India will be smarting after that. They got fooled by the green wicket.

It really shows the modern day, as soon as you see grass on the pitch, they pick all fast bowlers.

But there's a line in cricket, you don't always pick a team for the first innings.

I was surprised India didn't play Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm wrist spinner, in Perth. The Australians struggle against him.

In Melbourne, I thought maybe, depending on the pitch, India might have pulled a swifty and played Yadav and Ashwin, and dropped one of the other quickies, and played the all-rounder, Hardik Pandya.

I think they should have gone with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami as their quicks. But they don't need four quicks and one spinner.

They've gone with three quicks and Ravindra Jadeja, with Ashwin not yet fit.

I would have played Kuldeep. That's what I would have done if I was India.

Ravi Ashwin will miss again for India. Picture: Getty
Ravi Ashwin will miss again for India. Picture: Getty


The weather is going to be hot in Melbourne for the next few days and it's a nightmare for the curators because they like to have moisture in the pitch early.

What I want to see is the maximum cover of grass you are allowed, and a bit of moisture. I want it to be tough to bat on for the first day and a half.

If that means sides get bowled out for 150-200, with both teams boasting quality bowling attacks, then so be it.

Whenever the ball dominates the bat, it's a great Test match. They can't have the bat dominating the Test, otherwise it will be boring, and a draw. We don't want that at the MCG ever again.

A groundsman inspects the pitch for the Boxing Day Test.
A groundsman inspects the pitch for the Boxing Day Test.


It was nice to see you find some rhythm and bowl a bit better in Perth.

It beats bowling those balls to fine leg like you did with the second new ball in Adelaide.

So now stick that chest out on Boxing Day and lead the attack.

And as I said after Adelaide, if Australia are to win this series, they need you at your best.


This series is going right down to the wire, either team could win it. My heart wants Australia to win, but my head still says India. If India are to win though, then Virat Kohli is the key. It will all come down to the best cricketer on the planet. It's as simple as that.

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