Indias captain Ajinkya Rahane (3R) along with his teammates Ravichandran Ashwin (2L), Hanuma Vihari (2R) and Mohammed Siraj greet each other as Australias captain Tim Paine (L) watches at the end of the third cricket Test match between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in Sydney on January 11, 2021
Indias captain Ajinkya Rahane (3R) along with his teammates Ravichandran Ashwin (2L), Hanuma Vihari (2R) and Mohammed Siraj greet each other as Australias captain Tim Paine (L) watches at the end of the third cricket Test match between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in Sydney on January 11, 2021
AFP Photo

Frustration seemed to get better of Australia captain Tim Paine on Monday. He and Ashwin went hammer and tongs at each other as Australia's bowlers slogged for the five wickets they needed in the evening session to claim victory.

To add to Paine’s discomfort, he also dropped three catches in India's second innings, for which some heady stuff flew at him from the batsman. But while sledging is a part of the pyrotechnics during a match Down Under, there emerged footage of Australia's Steve Smith deliberately scuffing up batting marks in the crease.

The exchange between Paine and Ashwin was hardly invigorating after the racist slurs that were hurled on Sunday. Referring to Friday's series-deciding Test at the Gabba in Brisbane, where Australia haven't lost since 1988, Paine said to Ashwin: ‘‘I can't wait to get you to the Gabba, Ash, I'll tell you what, woo hoo.’’

Ashwin hit back: ‘‘Just like we want to get you to India. That will be your last series.’’ Paine then replied, ‘‘May be. Are you a selector here as well?’’ The Aussie skipper then added: ‘‘At least my team-mates like me, d***head. I've got a lot more Indian friends than you do. Even your team-mates think you're a goose, don't they? Every one of them.’’

The banter was hardly amusing and Gavaskar had the last word when he said: Tim Paine was more interested in talking to the batsman rather than concentrating on his field placing and bowling changes. So, I won't be surprised if there is a change in the Australian captaincy after the series is over.’’

Putting the exchange in perspective, Gavaskar said: "First and foremost, it was unbefitting of a captain of a national team to be talking about something other than cricket. By all means, you want to have a go at the opposition, you talk about their cricket, you can tell the batsmen he doesn't know how to play; you can say he is no good. All those kinds of things are completely acceptable because you're talking cricket. But when you talk about something else, it shows your frustration. It shows you are not able to bear the fact that the opposition is putting up a fight."

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