Tim Paine has done a wonderful job leading Australia’s culture revolution after the cheating scandal in South Africa but his reputation took a hit after some childish antics late on day five of India’s incredible draw at the SCG.
The series heads to the final Test in Brisbane locked at 1-1 after the tourists batted all day on Monday, losing just five wickets as they hung on for one of their most memorable results in history.
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It was a game India should have lost comfortably and Australia’s frustration was evident as Paine engaged in a sledging war with spinner Ravi Ashwin, who finished unbeaten on 39 from 128 balls.
The Aussie captain called Ashwin a “d***head”, said nobody in the Indian team likes him, made fun of his IPL career and talked up his own batting average on the subcontinent as tempers frayed.
Although Paine claimed to have more mates than Ashwin, the wicketkeeper only lost friends for his petulant display.
Cricket commentator and author Geoff Lemon said Paine went “feral” at Ashwin with “schoolyard stuff”.
“None of it sat right,” Lemon told The Final Word podcast, which he co-hosts with fellow broadcaster and writer Adam Collins.
“He showed a loss of control that he knew they weren’t going to get the win and was already getting furious about it.”
Collins said Paine’s outburst — which caused Ashwin to step away multiple times and refuse to take guard again until the chatter died down — was a world away from the side fans have been told Australia has become since sandpapergate.
“Paine went really hard at Ashwin and really personal, and it looks bad,” he told The Final Word. “When things weren’t going Tim Paine’s way he acted in a way that was thoroughly out of step with the new Australia that we were told all about after Newlands.
“I’m not saying that repudiates all the work that went into rebuilding the reputation after what happened in 2018 but it certainly felt like an enormous contrast between what we saw on that CA documentary last year … compared to what we saw from Tim Paine in the final half-an-hour with Ravichandran Ashwin.
“It looks petty and it looks out of step with the team we’ve been told that Tim Paine’s been cultivating over the last couple of years. That’s the more stark part of that.”
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Ravi Ashwin won the war.Source:AFP
Making matters worse for Paine was the fact he dropped three catches on the final day, including Rishabh Pant twice, which allowed the wicketkeeper to make a scintillating 97 and change the momentum of the match.
Plenty of others piled on after Paine’s jabs were broadcast around the world via some sensitive stump microphones — many mocking the skipper for sledging a tailender who has four more Test hundreds than him.
English sports journalist Paul Newman tweeted: “Tim Paine has been a massive disappointment as Australia captain. Not only classless but not very good either.”
Former Indian batsman Aakash Chopra also took aim.
“Paine, if you don’t stop talking … batsman isn’t going to bat. Simple. Let your gloves do the talking,” he tweeted. “You’re considered to be the good boy of Australian cricket … live up to the reputation. At least.
“Let your gloves do the talking. Period.”
Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar hit out too. “I condemn it. I played against some hard Australian teams but there was nothing of this nonsense which we are seeing from the Australian captain,” he said.
“For a captain, it’s certainly not befitting.
“Youngsters watching, youngsters listening to this will think that’s the way to go … it’s not the way to go.”
Cricket writer Chris Stocks tweeted: “Hilarious Tim Paine dropped Vihari late on as well after tip-toeing very close to the metaphorical line with his ‘chat’ to Ashwin the previous over #bunglingfinalsledge.”
PAINE REFLECTS ON HEAT OF BATTLE
Paine had a day to forget.Source:Getty Images
Paine’s sledgefest came after he was fined 15 per cent of his match fee for dissent, when he swore at umpire Paul Wilson when asking for some “f***ing consistency” with the DRS earlier in the Test.
The gloveman admitted afterwards he needs to behave better and should have been more mindful with his language in Sydney.
“I probably set a pretty poor example with my use of language,” he said. “Certainly disappointed with myself.
“I certainly didn’t mean to be disrespectful to him (Wilson). It was just heat of moment. I need to be better.
“I know the stump mics are on and there’s a lot of kids watching, and I need to set a better example.”
However, Paine still defended how his team conducted itself. “We try our best but we aren’t perfect,” he said.
“If the worst thing we’ve done is let the odd f-bomb go then I think we are going OK.”
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