Paine apologises after 'horrible 24 hours' for Australia
Tim Paine issued an apology and said Australia must "take some sort of positive" from a "horrible 24 hours" after South Africa stuck the knife into the shamed tourists by wrapping up a crushing 322-run win on day four of the third Test.
Paine stepped in as captain on Sunday after Steve Smith was stood down for the rest of the match along with his deputy David Warner amid a ball-tampering scandal.
Smith was given a one-match ban by the ICC following his admission that he was "party to a decision" to alter the condition of the ball, a plan which Cameron Bancroft - who was given three demerit points but avoided a ban - put into action on day three at Newlands.
The Proteas kicked Australia while they were down in Cape Town, Morne Morkel taking 5-23 to finish with Test-best match figures of 9-110 as the tourists collapsed from 57 without loss to 107 all out.
Wicketkeeper Paine expressed his remorse for an incident which has tarnished Australia's reputation and was disappointed with the manner in which they crumbled to go 2-1 down in the series with one match to play.
"It's been a horrible 24 hours to be perfectly honest. I'd like to take the opportunity to apologise to our fans and the Australians back home and over here, they deserve better than what we put up yesterday." he said during the post-match ceremony.
"It was difficult, no doubt, but that was one of things we spoke about this morning that we can control. The fact that we can go out today and compete.
"From that cricket perspective today, it was extremely disappointing. The way we've, I suppose, folded in that last hour or 45 minutes is really disappointing on top of what was already a horrible Test match."
Paine admitted it was tough to take over as captain in such circumstances but hopes the team can learn from such a damaging episode.
"It was difficult for all of us. The last 24 hours has been a real challenge, but down the track there is an opportunity for us to grow as a team and individuals from it." he added.
"We've got to try and take some sort of positive out of it long term and turn ourselves into the cricket team we want to be."