Australia skipper Tim Paine has said that he is "relishing going head-to-head" with his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli in the ongoing Test series and looking forward to "intense, hard" cricket in the Boxing Day game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
The pair had heated exchanges during the second Test at Perth Stadium, prompting the umpire to intervene. Australia won that game by 146 runs to level the four-match series at 1-1.
Paine said that he understands that Kohli never liked to lose.
"A lot was made of my battle with Virat in the second Test, and for the past few years when I haven't been playing international cricket, he was one guy I loved watching," he said in a column for 'Herald Sun'.
"Now to be out in the middle going head-to-head with him in a Test series is something I'm really relishing."
Paine further said that he was not annoyed "in the slightest" by the Indian skipper.
"Virat is someone who is prepared to wear his heart on his sleeve and like all professional athletes, hates to lose," he said.
"I like the way Virat plays. I don't know him personally but I've always admired -- not only his obvious skill as a player -- but the passion and aggression he plays with. People like to see that and he gets fans through the gates," Paine added.
Meanwhile, Australian coach Justin Langer said allrounder Mitch Marsh is "an attractive commodity" and remains in contention for a return to the Boxing Day Test because of the MCG pitch.
"In a perfectly balanced side you'll have someone who can bowl some overs so Mitch becomes an attractive commodity on a wicket probably unlike Adelaide and Perth," he said.