Tim Paine called his performance behind the stumps on the final day at the SCG as one of his worst with the gloves, as three dropped chances played a significant part in India managing to salvage a draw by losing just three wickets in 97 overs.
Paine spilled Rishabh Pant on 3 and 56, both outside edges off Nathan Lyon, and then deep in the final session grassed another chance offered by Hanuma Vihari when he dived across in front of slip. While there were only 8.1 overs left at that point, had the catch been taken it would have given Australia one final chance to target the lower order which would have included an injured Ravindra Jadeja, who looked ready to bat despite a dislocated thumb.
There was another costly miss, early in the last session, when substitute Sean Abbott couldn't take a chance at square leg after R Ashwin clipped the ball firmly from Pat Cummins.
"I'm bitterly disappointed, I pride myself on my wicketkeeping," Paine said. "Haven't had too many worse days than that today, it's a horrible feeling knowing our fast bowlers and our spinner bowled their hearts out and gave everything to do 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."
While for the latter part of the day Australia were the only team that could win the match, there was a period either side of lunch, when Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara formed their stand of 148, that the possibility of India chasing down 407 came into view. With Pant the way he was, a mention of Ben Stokes and Headingley was never far away although Paine insisted his mind never went there.
"I thought like the whole innings we were creating chances to get him, we just had to hold one," he said. "I thought Lyon was bowling really well. Rishabh played an amazing innings, he played some superb shots, we know he's got that in him but we also know he gives you chances and we just had to hold onto 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."
When Josh Hazlewood castled Pujara with a magnificent delivery, there were still 44 overs remaining, but on a surface that did not break up and play the tricks that were expected from signs earlier in the game, Ashwin and Vihari, battling injuries and body blows, stood up to everything that came their way.
"We created enough chances to win, wouldn't say it's deflating, thought there was a lot of positives out of the game and it was an awesome game of Test cricket," Paine said. "India fought bloody 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."
Despite it being a Test that Australia dominated for long periods, it ended as a difficult one for Paine who also copped an ICC fine after swearing at umpire Paul Wilson on the third day when he again became frustrated with the outcome of the DRS. During the tense final stages of the match on Monday, the stump mics also picked up significant chatter, some of it colourful, from around the bat as Ashwin and Vihari defied Australia.
"We all know the stump mics are part of the broadcast," Paine said. "It's great to bring the viewers that close. Unfortunately, I probably set a pretty poor example with my use of language. Certainly I was disappointed with myself after I heard that. We know we have to be careful. I've had Paul Wilson umpire me for a long time, I certainly didn't mean to be disrespectful to him, it was just heat of moment.
"I need to be better than that. I know the stump mics are on and there's a lot of kids watching and I need to set a better example. We try out best but we aren't perfect. Occasionally if the worst thing we've done is let the odd f-bomb go then I think we are going okay."
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo