Australia's captain for now, Tim Paine, believes his team must forge a new and better identity out of the wreckage of Newlands, where the infamy of the ball-tampering fiasco was rounded off by the humiliation of an abject 322-run defeat.

After echoing the Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland in apologising to fans of the game, Paine admitted the team had not been prepared for the sheer scale of the reaction that has flowed from across the Indian Ocean over the past 24 hours. He also said that Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were all struggling personally after their respective parts in the affair.

But Paine said it was no excuse for a fourth-innings combustion from 57 for 0 to 107 all out, which left the touring team needing to win in Johannesburg to preserve a share of the series, and maintain an unbeaten record in South Africa over the past 24 years. Looking ahead, he showed the first acknowledgement that the Australian team's wider culture and image needed to change, starting with the way they behaved and performed at the Wanderers from Friday.

"There's ammunition enough but it's a difficult situation that some guys are going to get an opportunity from, so it's trying to grab hold of the one positive that may come of it is guys are going to get an opportunity to play for their country," Paine said. "The whole opportunity for us going forward now is something we can learn from.

"Something we can try to control is how we are seen going forward by our Australian public and become the team that we want to become and they want us to be seen as. So that's an opportunity going forward. I don't think we all would have expected this to be as big as it has been and particularly the fallout that we have seen from back home, I think the reality and enormity of it has sunk in."

Through the extraordinary circumstances of this tour, Paine found himself elevated to the captaincy a matter of months after he was a surprise choice as Australia's Ashes wicketkeeper when not even Tasmania's first-choice behind the stumps. There is no small irony here, for as far back as 2010, he was touted as a leader of the future. This is not the way anyone imagines it happening.

Voges: We will see changes to Australia's hierarchy
Voges: We will see changes to Australia's hierarchy

"Strange, not the circumstances that anyone would like to be sitting here, really bizarre, strange, horrible 24 hours," Paine said. "We had a quick chat as we do as a team every morning and Steve and Dave both announced that they were stepping down and then I was told by the chairman of selectors that I would be captain for the day.

"It was extremely difficult, that's no excuse for what you saw in the last 45 minutes, we are still the Australian cricket team and we are expected to put up a better effort than what we did today. It was in some trying circumstances and probably circumstances we brought on ourselves. No one likes losing and no one likes losing in the circumstances that we have today."

Asked about the state of Smith, Warner and Bancroft, Paine said the trio were coming to terms with the gravity of their situation, with the Cricket Australia integrity officer Iain Roy en route to South Africa to conduct an internal investigation. "They're not great, it's been a horrible 24 hours," Paine said. "They're struggling, but probably the reality and the enormity of what's happened is starting to sink in.

"All we spoke about today as a team was when we crossed the line to go out and do our jobs and to compete and for the first half of the day I thought we did that reasonably well with the ball then started ok with the bat. Unfortunately, [we] fell apart in a really ordinary manner which only rubbed salt into the wounds of what's been a horrible 24 hours for us."

Unsurprisingly, Paine had no definitive answers to questions about the captaincy tenure of Smith and the coaching role of Darren Lehmann, and nor did he feel ready to discuss his own captaincy prospects. For Paine and the rest of the squad, this is very much a journey into the unknown.

"That's I think something that might come up this week," he said of whether Smith and Lehmann could continue, "but there's an internal review that's going to take place in the next few days and until that's happened no one will be making any comment on anything like that." As for his own leadership future: "I'm not sure what's going to happen, I don't think anyone is, so it's an impossible question to answer."

Apart from knowing that things must change around the Australian team, Paine and the rest are bracing for what happens next. Based on trend set by the events of the past 24 hours, it could be absolutely anything.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig