TIM Paine should retire from sledging, and Steve Smith is fast becoming so weird he's starting to get annoying.
Those were the lingering impressions this columnist has been pondering after a high-quality SCG Test match that is destined to be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
As if the behaviour of a small minority of spectators wasn't bad enough, the home-team captain somehow managed to lower the tone even further by engaging in some inane trash-talking, sparking flashbacks to a bygone era in which so-called "Ugly Australians" roamed the village green.
Apparently frustrated as India stonewalled their way towards a well-deserved draw, Paine's desperation manifested itself in a pointless exchange of unpleasantries with Indian tailender Ravi Ashwin.
"We can't wait to get you to the Gabba," Paine taunted Ashwin, as if the prospect of playing on a bouncy pitch would for some reason cause a 74-Test veteran who has scored four centuries to quake in his boots.
Without blinking an eye, Ashwin responded to Paine's verbal jab with a clinical uppercut: "Just like we want to get you to India. It will be your last series."
Bingo. Instantly Paine lost his rag, calling Ashwin a "dickhead" and declaring: "At least my teammates like me ... all your teammates think you're a goose, don't they? Every one of them."
Poor old Painey. If that's the best he's got, it might be time to install a mute button.
Let's just put his little amateur-hour diatribe under the forensic microscope.
The most effective sledging is usually subtle in nature but manages to plant a seed inside a batsman's head. It causes him to think, and perhaps even creates some self-doubt, and that momentary distraction is sometimes all that is needed to grab a wicket.
Yet by saying to Ashwin "wait until we get you to the Gabba", Paine may as well have waved a white flag and announced to the entire world that he had given up on winning at the SCG.
Whatever would transpire in Brisbane would have no bearing on the result in Sydney, so why bother?
Moreover, since when does a player's popularity have any bearing on his ability?
By all accounts, many of Don Bradman's teammates regarded him as aloof and unsociable, even tight-fisted.
Yet even if he was the last bloke to join them for a post-game beer, he was the first bloke they wanted picked for the next game.
I suppose it's a bit different for Paine.
Unlike the vast majority of previous Australian captains, he's not the best player in the team.
He inherited the job after the infamous "sandpapergate" scandal, at a time when it finally dawned on Cricket Australia that the entire organisation needed an image overhaul.
So it could be argued the (c) next to Paine's name on the team sheet has been as much about the perception of him being a good bloke as a good player.
He has been Australia's equivalent of Mike Brearley, except that under the Cambridge University graduate the Poms had a remarkable winning record, even though he averaged only 22.8 with the bat and scored no centuries in his 39 Tests.
But if Paine was as wily a captain as Brearley, Australia may well have won in Sydney, and at Headingley in 2019, for that mater.
Meanwhile, the subject of the ball-tampering scandal brings me to Smith, who for reasons best known to himself decided on day five at the SCG to scrape his boot spikes up and down where the Indian batsmen mark their guard at the crease.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan labelled Smith's actions as "very, very poor", while compatriot Darren Gough said it was "plain cheating".
Australian coach Justin Langer bristled at such comments, which he described as "way out of line".
But I wonder how Langer would have reacted, in his playing days, if he was battling to save a Test match and Phil Tufnell had walked over uninvited and started scratching an area every batsman is entitled to regard as his personal space.
But that's just Smithy, Langer and Paine argued. Everyone knows he's quirky.
Maybe so, but in this instance his actions were at the very least unnecessary and open to interpretation.
Some batsmen may have taken offence. It's akin to arriving in the office to find someone sitting at your desk, eating a sandwich and dropping crumbs all over your keyboard.
As for Smith and his constant twitching, fidgeting and other bizarre mannerisms at the crease, the consensus of opinion is that it's all part of his unique genius.
That's what makes him arguably the best batsman in the world, with a Test average of 60-plus.
Well what about this for a left-field suggestion ... what if he just stood still and batted normally?
Would he actually be an even better player?
Maybe all the extra energy required for his idiosyncrasies is actually costing him runs. It certainly makes me tired, just watching him.
Sometimes I wonder if Smith's legacy will not just be all manner of batting records, but spawning a new generation of kids who impersonate his every move, right down to carrying the bat halfway down the blade, which has already become a trend. I mean, what's wrong with the handle?
After the SCG Test, the phrase "it's just not cricket" springs to mind.