Australia captain Paine: I had a really poor game as leader

By Sports Desk January 11, 2021

Tim Paine declared he fell short of the standards he sets for himself as Australia captain during the ill-tempered third Test draw against India.

Wicketkeeper Paine shelled three catches as Australia toiled on the final day, with India batting out to a draw in relative comfort as the teams shook hands with the score 334-5 in the fourth innings at the SCG on Monday.

Ravichandran Ashwin finished unbeaten on 39 and was involved in spiteful verbal battle with Paine, which concluded with the gloveman calling him a "d*******".

Australia's conduct as their victory hopes slipped away has come under scrutiny after footage appeared to show former skipper Steve Smith trying to scrub out Rishabh Pant's guard marks on the crease during a thrilling counter-attacking innings of 97 in Sydney.

Having acknowledged his failings after the match, along with being fined 15 per cent of his match fee for showing dissent to umpire Paul Wilson on day three, Smith's successor Paine felt the need to address the media again on Tuesday as his conduct remained a talking point.

"I want to apologise for the way I went about things. I'm someone who prides themselves on the way I lead this team and yesterday was a poor reflection of the team," Paine said.

"I let the pressure of the game get to me. It affected my mood and from there, it affected my performance.

"Initially I reflected purely on my wicketkeeping. Last night I reflected on the whole game.

"I've had a really poor game as a leader. I'm a captain who wants to enjoy the game and wants to play the game with a smile on their face. I fell short of my expectations and our team's standards.

"I'm human. I want to apologise for the mistakes I made. It's certainly not a reflection of the way I want to lead this team. We've set high standards over the last few months and yesterday was a blip on the radar and something that I felt that I needed to come out and address.

"I feel that my mood throughout probably the whole Test match was a bit off. The way I spoke to the umpires early on day two was also unacceptable.

"I've got to cop that on the chin. It's not the way I want to lead this Australian team. It's certainly not a reflection of how I want to do it going forward.

"I apologise to our fans and people who heard some of the things I said, it wasn't good enough and particularly from the leader of this team."

The series is level at 1-1 heading into this week's decider at the Gabba in Brisbane, starting Friday.

"I'm really looking forward to getting to Brisbane and bouncing back and playing the game more like Tim Paine plays the game," Paine added. "Yesterday was a poor reflection of that and not something I want to be known for."

India face a host of fitness issues ahead of the quick turnaround in Brisbane.

Ravindra Jadeja is out with a broken thumb, while Pant (arm), Ashwin (back), Cheteshwar Pujara (finger) and Hanuma Vihari (hamstring) must all be assessed, with the latter a major doubt.

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