Missed reviews, dropped catches and a decision to bowl after winning the toss that backfired spectacularly - the fifth Ashes Test has turned into a nightmare for Tim Paine.
Six days after the euphoria in Manchester of becoming the first Australian captain to retain the urn on English soil since Steve Waugh in 2001, Paine was brought back down to earth on a tough third day of the fifth Test at the Oval.
The tourists face an enormous task in trying to win the series outright after England opened up a 382-run lead at stumps - closing their second innings on 8-313.
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Paine, who admitted earlier this week he was feeling the mental effects of a draining series, on Thursday won the toss for fourth time and surprised everyone by putting England in to bat.
The decision was curious given Australia's fast bowlers were in the field on four of the five days at Old Trafford which finished late on Sunday.
Although his paceman were again admirable, bowling England out before lunch on day two for 294, once more Australia flopped with the bat, being dismissed for 225 on Friday.
It allowed England to build a huge lead in perfect batting conditions against a weary attack on Saturday to effectively bat the tourists out of the match.
But Paine stood by his decision and said he backed his quicks to dismiss England cheaply and then watch his side bat in glorious sunshine over the weekend.
"I just thought there was enough in it to bowl them out," Paine said.
"We created plenty of chances we just didn't back our bowlers up unfortunately.
"I was happy with the way we bowled, I think we created 15 or 16 chances, we took a wicket with a no-ball. It could have been a very different story."
Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne took two sensational catches late on Saturday but overall Australia have been poor in the field, dropping five straight-forward opportunities across two innings.
Paine has also struggled with the decision review system (DRS) and his troubles continued at the Oval with two non-referrals that would have claimed the wickets of Joe Denly when he was on 54 and and Jos Buttler for 19.
Two big moments missed for Australia! How costly will these be towards Australia chasing a fourth innings target? 😔— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) September 14, 2019
STREAM: https://t.co/JWz7EnrrEz #9WWOS #Ashes pic.twitter.com/eq8SVF9U8F
Denly went on to make 94, after Mitch Marsh looked to have trapped him lbw, and Buttler 47, despite a confident appeal from Nathan Lyon when he struck him on the pads in front of the stumps.
Paine conceded he simply hasn't been good enough with reviews and made no excuses for his continual DRS failures.
"I'm going to do some umpiring school when I get home," Paine said.
"I'll enrol in a level three umpires course and see if I can get them right.
"I'm getting it wrong, I don't know what else to say. We're having a mare. We've got it wrong.
"It happens, it's fast, it's a tough job. As I've said throughout the whole Test series I've got a new respect for umpiring, particularly in Test cricket.
"For years players whinged about umpiring and now we've got it in our hands a little bit and we're finding that it's hard."