A "bitterly disappointed" Australia captain Tim Paine conceded he "hasn't had too many worse days" than Monday after his three dropped catches "let the team down" and played their part in India pulling off a draw in the third Test.
Paine said he was below par behind the stumps after India held on for a draw in pursuit of 407.
Paine dropped two catches of Rishabh Pant, who made a fluent 97 and raised hopes of an Indian win, and then dropped one of Hanuma Vihari, who remained unbeaten on 23 and ensured that the game ended in a draw along with Ravichandran Ashwin (39 not out).
"Obviously the dropped catches have played a part in the result. Probably going both ways to be far. But I am bitterly disappointed, I pride myself on my wicketkeeping. Haven't had too many worse days than that today," Paine said at the virtual post-match press conference.
"It's a horrible feeling knowing our fast bowlers and our spinner (Nathan Lyon) bowled their hearts out and gave everything to the team. I certainly feel I let them down.
"I have to wear that, but I'll get another crack at it next week so move on," said the wicketkeeper referring to the fourth and final Test in Brisbane.
Paine also had a verbal duel with Ashwin, while the Indian offspinner was batting. The Australian skipper said it was all a part of the game.
"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," the 36-year-old maintained.
According to the Australia skipper, India deserved the result as they fought hard.
"Well, obviously, we wanted to win the game. I thought we created enough chances to do so, wouldn't say it's deflating, thought there were a lot of positives out of the game and it was an awesome game of Test cricket.
"Thought India fought hard like we knew they would. Clearly, we are disappointed not to get a win but thought there were some good signs for us after the Melbourne Test" he added.
Chasing an improbable 407, India and Australia settled for a draw after the visitors showed grit and character with valuable contributions from Pant (97), and Cheteshwar Pujara (77).
Vihari and Ashwin shared an unbeaten 62-run partnership in 259 balls to ensure that the game ended in a draw.
According to Paine, the surface did not deteriorate as much as he thought, but still called the Sydney wicket a good one for the game.
"...didn't quite break up as much as you expect for an SCG. Still think it was a pretty good Test wicket, balls dropping in everywhere today, catches dropped, so plenty of chances created.
"We were good enough to get over the line and India fought really hard and deserved the result," he added.
So, did Pant's knock remind the Australian skipper of the 2019 Headingley Test against England where all-rounder Ben Stokes helped his team script a one-wicket win. Paine replied in the negative.
"I thought like the whole innings we were creating chances to get him (Pant) we just had to hold one. I thought (Nathan) Lyon was bowling really well.
"I thought he (Pant) played an amazing innings, he played some superb shots, we know he's got that in him. He's a huge talent, but we also know he gives you chances and we just had to hold on to one.
"Thought it was a great innings, we bowled pretty well to him, but at no stage did we have that feeling, we thought we had plenty on the board. Either we'd win or it would be a draw," he said.
Wanted to make sure that Indian boys knew we were against it too: Paine
Paine, who had won hearts for joining the Indian team huddle after racial slurs were hurled at its players on day four of the third Test, on Monday said he did so to "make sure that the visitors knew that he and his team were against any sort of abuse".
Play was halted on Sunday for a few minutes after India pacer Mohammed Siraj complained of racial abuse from a section of the crowd, leading to expulsion of some spectators and an unreserved apology from Cricket Australia.
Paine, who was batting at that time, was asked about the incidents that marred the Test during the post-match press conference.
I think it's bitterly disappointing. Cricket Australia and the Australian cricket team, we don't condone any sort of abuse, particularly racial abuse, the wicket-keeper-batsman said.
I just wanted to let the Indian team know we were with them on that. Like I said, it's not condoned by any of us and really disappointed that that happens when teams come to Australia and we want it to stop.
"Just wanted to make sure the Indian boys knew we are also against it and we support them," the captain elaborated.
The incident on Sunday had taken place, a day after a drunk spectator at the SCG allegedly directed racial abuse at Jasprit Bumrah and Siraj.