Australia's injured spearhead Mitchell Starc has said India's verbal confrontations with the tourists were the result of fear over losing the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after their unexpected defeat in the opening Test of the series in Pune.
Starc, who flew home with a foot stress fracture after the second Test in Bengaluru but hopes to be fit in time for the ICC Champions Trophy later in June, stated that a young Australian side had not gone to India looking for fights but found themselves in several stoushes after the dramatic result in Pune.
"It's probably come a lot more from their side than ours," Starc told Fox Sports. "There's been a lot made of it before the series, there was so much hype before the series, and I think we've gone about the cricket as we have done for a long time now. As a young group, we're probably still finding our way. We're still learning about each other's games and how we're going as a team probably since the Hobart Test match [last year].
"It's probably showed in how the guys have been playing their cricket, especially the way they batted [in Ranchi]. A couple of young guys performed outstandingly well, [like] Peter Handscomb. It shows who we are as a group and things have come hard, and it's almost a defensive mechanism for them that we won the first Test match, we're here for the challenge.
"They were scared of us, beating them in India the way they've been playing as well. So it was almost a defensive mechanism for them and obviously they come out in the second Test match, performed really well and got back into it."
Australia's attitude on the tour has been one of learning and humility, as demonstrated by the way Handscomb and Shaun Marsh played out the final afternoon of the Ranchi Test to secure a draw under concerted Indian pressure. Starc pointed to the eagerness of 20-year old Matt Renshaw to learn about the game - so much that he has tried the patience of some team-mates - as an example.
"The more time he spends out in the middle the less time we have to listen to him," Starc said, laughing. "He's different but he's a lovely kid. Loves his cricket, just loves batting - so I think that's obviously shown in how he's gone about his cricket in India.
"His first trip there, he's learning - he's probably not eating the right things, being sick all the time - but he's performing quite well. He says some strange things, he comes up with some strange theories. He talks a load about [Don] Bradman and whether he scored those runs. He keeps talking about bats these days. He talks like he's 35."
Starc said his foot fracture was not as serious as the one that kept him out of much of the 2015-16 season. "The foot is okay. It's not snapped in half like the one 18 months go," he said. "It's the same foot, so I did the third metatarsal the last time, this is the fourth. Nice fracture. It's not displaced though.
"I don't need a boot fortunately. I'm still in the gym getting myself ready for when I do come back whenever that might be. I see the specialist on Thursday and hopefully get a clearer picture then. But the Champions Trophy is clearly not out of the picture."
Looking ahead to the final Test in Dharamsala, Starc said the Australians had demonstrated their ability to defend and attack at the right times. "I think we can win. I think we've showed throughout the series that we're definitely up for the challenge," he said. "We're in the fight - we have been for three Test matches. We can knuckle down when we need to but we can attack when we want to and we can."