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The most fiery Tim Paine defence yet

Former Test batsman Peter Handscomb has labelled the avalanche of criticism dumped on Australia captain Tim Paine "an absolute joke", in the wake of the Border-Gavaskar series defeat to India.

Cricket greats Sunil Gavaskar, Michael Vaughan, Kevin Pietersen and Darren Gough have all delivered Paine a hellacious roasting, while former Australia heroes Mark Taylor, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee have remained much more measured but picked out faults of their own.

An astonished cricket world watched on as India, despite being without seven of their first-choice players, pulled off a three-wicket win in enthralling scenes late on day five at The Gabba.

The win consigned Australia to their first defeat at the Brisbane venue since 1988, in which a West Indies side packed with legends of the game had stormed to a nine-wicket win.

But Handscomb has been left dumbfounded at the extraordinary amount of backlash Paine has copped.

"I can't believe the fallout from this Test is his captaincy. That's just an absolute joke," Handscomb said.

"The poor guy's batting beautifully, making some good runs, taking the game on and leading with that intent, which is really good to see.

"For it to come down to some perceived captaincy ideas is ridiculous.

"The whole team's there and everyone's trying to do their best … it's a bit of a joke that the takeaway seems to be his captaincy."

Paine isn't the only member of Australia's set-up who's drawn fierce criticism.

Matthew Wade's Test career could be over after the left-hander managed just 173 runs at an average of 21.62 from eight innings.

Speedster Mitchell Starc (11 wickets, average of 40.72) is also fighting to keep his spot for the Test tour of South Africa, while the position of champion off-spinner Nathan Lyon (nine wickets, average of 55.11) isn't in doubt but he was ineffective against India.

And fill-in opening batsman Marcus Harris (43 runs, average of 21.50) is likely to be replaced by Will Pucovski if he's fit, while star David Warner will remain at the top of the order but registered just 67 runs at an average of 16.75 in the series.

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