AUSSIE captain Tim Paine has apologised for calling opponent Ravi Ashwin a 'd***head' and tried to explain Steve Smith scuffing the pitch.

Paine, 36, offered a mea culpa for his behaviour on the final day of the Third Test in Sydney, where India held on heroically for a draw.

He also revealed that Smith was 'upset' about the furore around him using studs in the area where Rishabh Pant marked his guard.

Paine, who dropped three catches in India’s second innings, said: “Because of the hub life in international cricket, you have a fair bit of time to yourself and last night was one of those moments for me to sit back and reflect on the Test match. 

“I want to apologise for the way I went about things. I’m someone who prides themselves on the way I lead this team and yesterday was a poor reflection of that.

“My leadership wasn’t good enough, I let the pressure of the game get to me, it affected my mood and from there affected my performance.

“I said to our players that I’d had a really poor game as a leader, not so much as a captain but certainly as a leader.

"I’m a captain who wants to play the game with a smile on their face and I fell short of my expectations and our team standards. So I’m human, I want to apologise for the mistakes I made.

“We’ve set really high standards over the last 18 months and this was a bit of a blip on the radar and something I felt I needed to come out and address.”

Paine was also asked about footage showing Smith using his studs to scuff the lines Pant made to mark his guard.

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He added: “I’ve spoken to Steve about this and I know he’s really disappointed with the way it’s come across. He’s quite upset about it.

“If you’ve watched Steve Smith play Test cricket, that’s something he does every single game, five or six times a day.

“He’s always standing in the batting crease, shadow batting. He likes to visualise how he is going to play.”

After the sandpaper scandal of 2018, when Smith was stripped of the captaincy, his conduct needs to be beyond criticism.

And he should know the batting crease is the batsman’s domain and that the Laws ban fielders from damaging the pitch.

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