Paine: I think the reality and enormity of it has sunk in

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Tim Paine, who stood in as Australia captain for the remainder of the third Test against the Proteas after Steve Smith got caught up in a ball-tampering scandal, says the reality of the situation has sunk in for the players.

Smith and vice-captain David Warner were stood down for the Test at Newlands after Smith admitted that the whole leadership groups had been involved in trying to alter the condition of the ball.

Paine saw a proper capitulation on Sunday, day four of the Test, as the Aussies succumbed to a 322-run defeat to go 2-1 down in the four-match series.

The final Test will be played at the Wanderers, starting on Friday, and the visitors will be without their best batsman as Smith has been banned by the ICC.

While everyone waits for Cricket Australia (CA) to conclude their own investigation, Paine suggested that there will be some changes to the line-up for the final Test and opportunities to be taken by other players.

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Paine said: “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.

“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.”

Even with all the off-field drama and the backlash from back home with some calling for heads to roll, Paine said there was no excuse for the manner of the defeat Newlands.

Australia lost 10 wickets in the final session to go from 57 without loss to 107 all out.

Paine continued: “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.”

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