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 needing to apologise for 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.
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.
'ENDED UP LOOKING A FOOL': PAINE SAYS SORRY
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 apologised for his conduct on Tuesday and admitted he "ended up looking like a fool" because he dropped a catch soon after sledging Ashwin.
"I want to apologise for the way I went about things yesterday. 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 my performance.
"I've had a really poor game as a leader … yesterday I fell short of my expectations and our team's standards. I'm human. I want to apologise for the mistakes I made yesterday.
"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 … I'm bitterly disappointed.
"My mood throughout the whole Test match was a bit off. The way I spoke to the umpires was unacceptable.
"I've got to cop that on the chin. It's certainly not a reflection of how I want to do it going forward.
"I fell short of my own standards and expectations. I'm bitterly disappointed with that."
Paine said he has no intention of giving up the captaincy or the gloves, and is looking forward to the final Test in Brisbane.
'FERAL, CLASSLESS': CAPTAIN GOES TOO FAR
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."
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."