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Tim Paine apologises for sledging, umpire abuse in heated third Test - 'I've had a really poor game as a leader'

Australian cricket captain Tim Paine has apologised for his sledging in yesterday’s climactic finish to the third Test against India in Sydney, saying in hindsight he looks like “a fool”.

Paine came under heavy criticism following yesterday’s draw for his antics behind the stumps while sledging Indian batsman Ravi Ashwin who he called a “d***head” at one point.

The wicketkeeper told media today he “let himself down” throughout the Test, having previously also been fined for swearing at an umpire in the match.

“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. 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 enjoys the game, and wants to play… 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.”

The other big criticism of Paine’s antics was that while he was doing a lot of talking, he wasn’t following it up with any action as he dropped three catches yesterday.

Paine admitted criticism of his play was fair given the way he acted both with his mouth and gloves.

“I realised the mistakes I made yesterday, both from a leadership and wicket-keeping point of view, I have to cop that criticism now and move on.

“For me, the most important thing is that I understand where I went wrong and how I can improve and I had some pretty honest conversations with JL and our staff last night and moved on to how I can improve for the Gabba.”

Paine also revealed he spoke to Ashwin after the match to clear the air, insisting the pair had no bad blood heading the series-decider in Brisbane which starts this Friday.

“I spoke to him really quickly after the game yesterday,” Paine said. “As I said to him, I ended up looking the fool, didn’t I? You open your mouth and drop the catch, we had a bit of a laugh about that.

“I think the relations between the two teams have been great, there’s a healthy respect, it’s very competitive.

“When it’s all said and done, the way the spirit of this series has been played, 99 per cent of the time it’s been excellent.

“Everything was fine [with Ashwin].”