THE AUSSIES were back to their bad old ways as captain Tim Paine called Indian star Ravi Ashwin a ‘d***head’ during a sledging battle.
Paine and his team threatened to lose their cool completely as India mounted a heroic fifth-day rearguard and saved the Third Test in Sydney.
Australia cricket captain Tim Paine was caught calling India’s Ravi Ashwin a ‘d***head’ in foul-mouthed sledging battleCredit: Getty
And ex-skipper Steve Smith – stripped of the job after the Sandpaper scandal in 2018 – appeared to rough up the pitch during a break in play.
Paine was appointed successor to Smith in an attempt to improve Australian cricket’s tattered image.
But the mask well and truly slipped when standing up to the stumps while Ashwin was batting during his 128-ball defensive vigil.
Perhaps Paine was also frustrated by the terrible wicketkeeping – he dropped three catches in India’s second innings.
Referring to the series decider on the quick pitch in Brisbane on Friday, Paine was heard on the stump mic telling Ashwin: “I can’t wait to get you to the Gabba, Ash. I’ll tell you what, woo hoo.”
Ashwin, an intelligent and combative character, hit back immediately: “Just like we want to get you to India. That will be your last series.”
Paine replied: “Maybe. Are you a selector here as well?”
He then went into foul-mouthed mode: “At least my team-mates like me, d***head. I’ve got a lot more Indian friends that you do. Even your team-mates think you’re a goose, don’t they? Every one of them.”
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Ashwin stepped away until Paine kept quiet while Nathan Lyon waited to bowl.
Ashwin then told Paine: “Tell me when you’re done.”
“I’ll talk all day, mate,” retorted Paine. “Wait until you get to the Gabba, pal.”
Paine had already been fined 15 per cent of his match fee and handed a demerit point for swearing at umpire Paul Wilson after a DRS decision went India’s way on day three.
His latest outburst was criticised on Twitter, with England great Michael Vaughan claiming it was ‘back to the bad old days’.
Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari produced a match-saving partnership of 62 in 42.4 overs.
Footage also emerged of Smith scuffing the lines Rishabh Pant had made to mark his guard. Pant, who scored 97, had to ask the umpire for a fresh guard when he returned to his crease.
India won the Second Test by eight wickets after being bowled out for 36 in the First Test.
India have also suffered a string of injuries and their captain and star batsman Virat Kohli is missing the final three Tests to attend the birth of his first baby.
Paine was appointed successor to Smith in an attempt to improve Australian cricket’s tattered imageCredit: AFP
India star Ashwin hit back immediately at the AussieCredit: AFP