Australia’s performance on the final day of the Sydney Test was disgraceful.
The use of foul language directed at India’s Ravi Ashwin were not in the spirit of the game and raised questions over Tim Paine’s leadership, in a frustrating day for the Australian skipper.
Paine has made a public apology after reflecting on his actions but this attitude, to get personal and attack the opposition, is reflective of one of Australia’s darkest days in South Africa.
Paine was appointed captain after Steve Smith was stood down following his actions in the infamous 2018 sandpaper incident in Cape Town, with Paine’s character seeing him elevated to the second-most important job in the country.
But the hosts’ words and actions in Sydney on the final day were reminiscent of their pushing the boundaries to gain an edge.
Smith, who unfortunately will have the actions of South Africa always hanging over him, was once again embroiled in an incident caught on camera, caught rubbing out Rishabh Pant’s crease marking with his feet.
The actions were out of line and left the Australian public questioning their place.
Paine was also fined 15 per cent of his match fee for swearing at umpire Paul Wilson after a DRS decision didn’t go his team’s way.
The Aussies have always lived on the edge and been up for a bit of chat on the field to ignite their opposition. The events of 2018 were the crescendo to an era of bad-boy mentality, serving to rock more than just the cricketing world but the Australian sporting landscape.
But it was what was needed at the time to bring the team back down to Earth, seeing Justin Langer bring in his stern and heavy-handed method.
The hope is that nothing like that ever happens again, but the way things bubble when Australia are under pressure is troubling and leaves a sour taste in fans’ mouths.
The verbal bashing is causing Paine to lose his way to behind the stumps, with him dropping three catches in the match and one late in the day which would have changed the course of the Test.
The culture of the team is changing, with players crossing the boundary and losing all meaning of the word sportsmanship.