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It's been a bizarre, strange and horrible 24 hours - Tim Paine

Tim Paine was disappointed with Australia's batting performance in the final innings
Tim Paine was disappointed with Australia's batting performance in the final innings

Australia stand-in captain Tim Paine described the team has been through a tough 24-hour as they succumbed to massive 322-run defeat to South Africa in the third Test in Cape Town.

Following the news on the ball-tampering scandal broke out, Steven Smith and David Warner stepped down from their leadership roles with Paine appointed the captain for the remainder of the game.

The off-field pressure did affect their performance with the bat as they lost all 10 wickets in the final session on day four and were bowled out for 107 runs after South Africa set an improbable target of 430 runs in the final innings. Morne Morkel was the hero with the ball for the Proteas as he completed a five-wicket haul to go with the four wickets in the first innings.

“It’s been a bizarre, strange and horrible 24 hours,” Paine told reporters after the heavy defeat in Cape Town.

“It was extremely difficult, though that is certainly no excuse for what you saw in the last 45 minutes. We are still the Australian cricket team, we are expected to put up a better effort than what we did today, but it was in some trying circumstances.”

Paine also admitted that the players are struggling to cope up with the reactions after the fallout on the ball-tampering scandal.

“They are struggling, probably the reality and enormity of what has happened is starting to sink in,” Paine said.

“I don’t think all (the players) would have expected this to be as big as it has been, especially the fallout that we have seen from back home.”

Amid all the controversies, Australia will head to Johannesburg for the fourth and final Test that kicks-off on 30th April with a hope to level the series and Paine wants the team to use it as a motivation.

“The one positive that will come is that some guys will get an opportunity to play for their country,” Paine said, adding that the team now had to restore their shattered reputation.

“The whole opportunity for us going forward is something that we can learn from and something we can try and control, how we are seen by the Australian public and become the team we want to become and they want us to be seen as.”

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