(Australian Associated Press)
Tensions between Australia and India are at boiling point going into the third Test, with Tim Paine admitting the tourists are starting to get on his team’s nerves.
Paine has taken a thinly veiled swipe at India over their issues with Brisbane’s hotel quarantine measures, claiming Australia would play the fourth Test in Mumbai if need be.
Relations between the two teams have been noticeably friendly in the opening two encounters, with minimal sledging and the series tied at 1-1.
But that has taken a significant shift this week, with Australia’s captain expecting some tension to boil over when the third Test starts at the SCG on Thursday.
India’s comments about Brisbane, and the fact they would rather play somewhere other than the Gabba to avoid hotel quarantine, raised eyebrows in Australia’s camp.
That issue now appears to be largely resolved, with players set to be allowed out of their rooms provided they remain in the hotel when not at the ground.
SCG curator Adam Lewis also claimed on Wednesday he was no longer preparing a back-up wicket and expected the series to move to Brisbane for the finale.
But it didn’t come before Nathan Lyon told everyone to “suck it up” and stop complaining earlier this week.
“It’s boiling away, there’s some stuff starting to happen, a bit of chat starting to happen,” Paine said.
“This Test is going to be fascinating not just from a cricket point of view.
“There’s a bit of tension starting to boil under the surface with unnamed sources coming out from their camp saying where they want to play the fourth Test and where they don’t want to go.
“I think it’s starting to grind a few people, so we’ll see how it goes.”
The last series between Australia and India was played in relatively good spirits, but previous showdowns have been fiery.
Regardless though, it’s not to first time Paine has hinted at annoyance over India after Australia didn’t play at their Gabba fortress two summers ago.
When Australia took its undefeated run at the ground to 30 years last season, Paine said he would “have to call Virat (Kohli)” to see if India would play there this summer.
And again on Wednesday, the topic of concern was again the Gabba.
“I’d just say (it caused) a bit of uncertainty,” Paine said.
“Because when you hear things like that coming, particularly from India who we know hold a lot of power in world cricket, it’s likely that it could happen.
“So for us we just want to be really clear on this Test match.
“We’re going to focus on that this week then whatever happens never week, happens. And we’ll adapt to it. But we’re not too fussed.
“As far as we’re aware it is at the Gabba.
“But as I said in the team meeting the other day, we couldn’t care less. If you rang us up and said it’s in Mumbai tomorrow, we’d get on a plane and play it.”