Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Monday slammed Australia skipper Tim Paine for sledging Ashwin Ravichandran during the drawn third Test in Sydney, saying his behaviour was “unbefitting” of a leader and could cost him his captaincy.

Australia’s famed bowling attack threw everything at India on the fifth day but couldn’t break their resolve as the visitors hung on for a memorable draw at the SCG.

“I don’t know I am not an Australian selector, but his days as captain are numbered. If you allow the Indian team to bat 130-odd overs without getting wickets (then it’s a problem). This is a very good Australian attack. The bowling changes, the field placements, everything could have made a difference to the result,” Gavaskar told India Today.

Paine’s dropped catches played a key role in the partnership of Hanuma Vihari (23 not out off 161) and Ashwin Ravichandran (39 not out off 128), who batted for more than 42 overs for a 62-run stand to save the Test.

Read: Bruised, battered but still standing tall: India win the test of character at Sydney

In frustration, the 36-year-old tried to exchange some words with Ashwin to disturb his focus during the last session and ended up dropping Vihari after that.

“Tim Paine was more interested in talking to the batsman rather than making his field placing and bowling changes. So I won’t be surprised if there is a change in the Australian captaincy after the series is over,” Gavaskar said.

Paine dropped three catches during the match.

“If you drop simple catches, Rishabh Pant got two edges, they were not difficult catches, the last one which he missed off Vihari was also which he could have left to the first slip,” the former India skipper said.

“He was a little bit disturbed, his concentration was not there after that little episode with R Ashwin.”

In the 122nd over, Paine could be heard on stump mic, trying to sledge Ashwin. He even used an abusive word during the chatter.

“First and foremost, it was unbefitting of a captain of a national team to be talking about something other than cricket,” Gavaskar said.

“By all means, you want to have a go at the opposition, you talk about their cricket, you can tell the batsmen he doesn’t know how to play, you can say he is no good.

“All those kinds of things are completely acceptable because you’re talking cricket. But when you talk about something else, it shows your frustration. It shows you are not able to bear the fact that the opposition is putting up a fight.”

India ended up with 334 for five in 131 overs, while chasing a mammoth 407.

Gavaskar said Paine should have focussed on the game rather than indulging in “nonsense”.

“But see, this game, I had the former Australian captain sitting next to me and doing commentary. He said this game has a wonderful way of coming back and biting you on the back.

“Your best bet is to concentrate on the game and try not to upset the opposition with this kind of nonsense that has no place in the game,” Gavaskar said.

Paine, however, had defended himself after the match saying that it was all a part of the game and no harm was done.

“There was a bit of by-play going on. They were wasting a bit of time, we were getting a bit frustrated, we let him know, he had a bit of say back and again it’s all part of the game. No harm done,” he said during the virtual post-match press conference.

Paine was on Sunday fined 15 per cent of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision on day three of the match.

With the series on the line, Paine will be under pressure to get a win at Brisbane as any other result would mean the Border-Gavaskar Trophy stays with India.

India beat Australia for the time in their history during the 2018-’19 tour and Australia would be keen to avoid a repeat this time around, especially with the visitors without captain Virat Kohli who returned home after the first Test for the birth of his daughter.

(With PTI inputs)