The author of the root-and-branch review into the culture of Australian cricket has applauded Tim Paine for apologising after his "lapse of judgment" in the third Test but said it's how the captain and his team behave in Brisbane that will count for more.
Philosopher Dr Simon Longstaff's challenge to Justin Langer's men came as the national coach acknowledged their behaviour was now under the microscope as a result of the high bar they had set in the wake of the ball-tampering affair.
The heightened scrutiny on the side was evident in the reaction to Steve Smith's shadow batting while fielding, which was interpreted as sharp practice by critics overseas, prompting Langer to confront former England captain Michael Vaughan for his "out of line" remarks,
When Paine leads his players onto the Gabba on Friday, it will be more than the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on the line for an Australian side which had its report card blotted for the first time since the sandpaper affair in South Africa.
Appointed with the mandate to clean up the team's on-field conduct, Paine was in hot water with officials for his expletive-laden outburst at umpire Paul Wilson then angered many fans after a heated verbal exchange with India's Ravichandran Ashwin.
Dr Longstaff, whose damning review into Cricket Australia triggered sweeping changes at head office, is encouraged by Paine's public mea culpa as it showed there was no "normalisation of deviance", where mistakes of greater magnitude occur because the initial error was overlooked.
"Under these extraordinary circumstances you understand people can make a mistake then you see what is their response," Dr Longstaff told the Herald and The Age.
"Do they take responsibility? Do they show evidence of remorse? Are they willing to work on this?
"I think all of those things were evident in Tim Paine's response yesterday. He's had some time to think about it, work out what the appropriate thing to do and I hope he builds upon that."
The bigger test, he said, beckons in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the deciding Test at the Gabba.
"It's not what you do when you've had the chance to have a shower to think about it, it's what do you do in the preparation and when you step onto the field," Dr Longstaff said.
"Remember it's not Tim Paine as an individual but the team that he leads now that will give, by their conduct, an indication of the quality of his leadership and that of the leadership group around him."
Bemused by the fallout after Paine's first mistake in nearly three years, Langer is standing by the man who has led the Test side throughout his reign as coach, saying the captain has his "100 per cent support".
"Do I have faith in Tim Paine? You have no idea how much faith I've got in Tim Paine," Langer said.
The Australians have discussed the events of the emotion-charged Sydney Test and vowed to learn from their mistakes.
"I hope over the last three years we've shown ourselves to be really good people and sportspeople on and off the cricket field," Langer said.
"We don't shy away - the captain got up publicly and put his leadership on the line yesterday and said 'that's not how we do it' and that takes great courage to do that."
Langer knows there are many waiting for his team to stumble but is prepared to play the long game when it comes to rehabilitating their public image.
"I remember a great mate of mine told me a few years ago if you're going to build a house or a hotel, it takes years to do it, but it takes a couple of hours to rip it all down with a bulldozer," Langer said. "So we've got to be on top of our game all the time, but also our players are human."
Smith criticism 'ludicrous'
Langer was less accepting of criticism aimed at Smith.
"I spoke to Michael Vaughan as well, I thought he was out of line actually. You get it from [some of the critics], but I don’t expect it from [someone like Vaughan]. I know he makes a living out of making those sorts of comments, but I thought he was out of line," Langer said on SEN radio station on Wednesday morning.
"Everything [said] about Steve Smith is absolutely ludicrous, we have a laugh that he's a bit quirky and a bit different, he shadow bats in the shower, all he thinks about is batting. He certainly consciously wasn't trying to do anything wrong.
"He was just standing there thinking about batting. He is 100 per cent innocent in this. He didn't do anything on the pitch. If you know anything about cricket the wicket was like concrete, he would’ve needed 15-inch spikes to make an indent, to do what people were accusing him of doing and trying to mess up Pant’s guard.
"Give me a break. I've never heard so much rubbish in my life."