Hobart: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday made it clear his team will not back down when it comes to matching the Australian aggression in the tri-series finals and blamed the world champions for the on-field hostilities between the two sides.
He criticised the Aussies for their 'provocative behaviour' during Sunday's Sydney ODI, which prompted the Indians to lodge a formal complaint with the match referee.
"We believe it was the Australians who have been provoking us. It's been going on for a while. In due course I am sure (my team's) youngsters will learn from it," he said.
"Ishant only reacted to what Symonds said to him," he added when asked about the young pacer showing the 'send-off finger' to Andrew Symonds in that game, for which Ishant was docked 15 per cent of his match fee.
"It's never friendly in international cricket and aggression is okay if you don't cross the line," Dhoni said.
"Ishant will learn this art in due course. I call it an art because it happens in international cricket all the time," he added.
In the Sydney match, Dhoni had to part with his gloves after the match referee was concerned about their legality. However, Dhoni chose to sidestep the issue. "I thought the gloves were quite okay but I don't want to start a controversy. Out of my 100 catches, only a few have been held with those gloves," he said.
India went into Tuesday's game against Sri Lanka with five bowlers and Dhoni said it was a strategy he preferred to adopt against the islanders. "Whenever we play against Sri Lanka, we try to play five bowlers. It's because our batsmen have done quite well against them," he said.
"We prefer to bowl swing to Australia and seam to Sri Lanka; so in next game, we could rotate Munaf Patel with Sreesanth."
"Today, it was Praveen Kumar. He is quite deceptive. He has very good wrist position and can bowl up to 135kmph."
Dhoni also took potshots at Sachin Tendulkar's critics who have been suggesting that the master batsman takes a break to recharge his batteries. "It's up to Sachin if he wants to take rest. People should be careful about what they are writing about him," he said, defending Tendulkar who returned to form with a quickfire 63.
Dhoni said the Hobart wicket did not offer the help it appeared at the time of the toss. "It never quite offered help as can be seen that it was difficult to even get rid of the tailenders," he pointed out.