SYDNEY, Jan 11 (PTI): A ‘bitterly disappointed’ Australia captain Tim Paine conceded he “hasn’t had too many worse days” than Monday after his three dropped catches “let the team down” and played their part in India pulling off a draw in the third Test here.
Paine said he was below par behind the stumps after India held on for a draw in pursuit of 407.
Paine dropped two catches of Rishabh Pant, who made a fluent 97 and raised hopes of an Indian win, and then dropped one of Hanuma Vihari, who remained unbeaten on 23 and ensured that the game ended in a draw along with Ravichandran Ashwin (39 not out).
“Obviously the dropped catches have played a part in the result. Probably going both ways to be far. But I am bitterly disappointed, I pride myself on my wicketkeeping. Haven’t had too many worse days than that today,” Paine said at the virtual post-match press conference.
“It’s a horrible feeling knowing our fast bowlers and our spinner (Nathan Lyon) bowled their hearts out and gave everything to the team. I certainly feel I let them down.
“I have to wear that, but I’ll get another crack at it next week so move on,” said the wicket-keeper referring to the fourth and final Test in Brisbane.
Paine also had a verbal duel with Ashwin, while the Indian off-spinner was batting. The Australian skipper said it was all a part of the game.
“There was a bit of by-play going on. They were wasting a bit of time, we were getting a bit frustrated, we let him know, he had a bit of say back and again it’s all part of the game. No harm done,” the 36-year-old maintained.
According to the Australia skipper, India deserved the result as they fought hard.
“Well, obviously, we wanted to win the game. I thought we created enough chances to do so, wouldn’t say it’s deflating, thought there were a lot of positives out of the game and it was an awesome game of Test cricket.
“Thought India fought hard like we knew they would. Clearly, we are disappointed not to get a win but thought there were some good signs for us after the Melbourne Test” he added.
Chasing an improbable 407, India and Australia settled for a draw after the visitors showed grit and character with valuable contributions from Pant (97), and Cheteshwar Pujara (77).
Vihari and Ashwin shared an unbeaten 62-run partnership in 259 balls to ensure that the game ended in a draw.
According to Paine, the surface did not deteriorate as much as he thought, but still called the Sydney wicket a good one for the game.
“…didn’t quite break up as much as you expect for an SCG. Still think it was a pretty good Test wicket, balls dropping in everywhere today, catches dropped, so plenty of chances created.
“We were good enough to get over the line and India fought really hard and deserved the result,” he added.
So, did Pant’s knock remind the Australian skipper of the 2019 Headingly Test against England where all-rounder Ben Stokes helped his team script a one-wicket win. Paine replied in the negative.
“I thought like the whole innings we were creating chances to get him (Pant) we just had to hold one. I thought (Nathan) Lyon was bowling really well.
“I thought he (Pant) played an amazing innings, he played some superb shots, we know he’s got that in him. He’s a huge talent, but we also know he gives you chances and we just had to hold on to one.
“Thought it was a great innings, we bowled pretty well to him, but at no stage did we have that feeling, we thought we had plenty on the board. Either we’d win or it would be a draw,” he said.