Perth - Despite a cheap dismissal on Monday,
Ricky Ponting went out in style, leaving the game as Australia's
all-time leading Test batsman after a poignant guard of honour from the
Not long after the adoring crowd in Perth gave him
a rousing sendoff, Australia's most successful captain was soon back in
the pavilion with just eight runs as his side chased an improbable 632
to win the third Test.
But Ponting, who turns 38 this month, will
be judged over the course of a stellar career that equalled Steve
Waugh's mark of 168 Test matches - the most in the history of
Australia v South Africa: 3rd Test, day 4, latest highlightsLive Scoring
His South African opponents gave due
recognition as he came out to bat on Monday, lining up to applaud him
onto the pitch. But in truth Ponting had failed to fire in the current
series, and admitted that his time was up.
The Tasmanian, who
boasts 41 centuries, with only Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar (51) and South Africa's Jacques Kallis (44) scoring
more, said ahead of the series decider in Perth that he knew retirement
"Over the last couple of weeks my level of performance hasn't been good enough," he admitted.
"My passion and love for the game hasn't changed but at the end of the day (the decision) was based on my results."
won more Tests as captain - 48 - than any other Australian and has
the astonishing success rate of almost 72 percent as the country's
one-day leader, winning 164 of his 228 games.
He had already called a halt on his captaincy of the Test and one-day team in March last year, but continued as a player.
skippering Australia in more than 300 Test and one-day matches, taking
over from Waugh, his magnificent innings were blighted by three Ashes
series losses as captain.
Nicknamed Punter by Shane Warne for his
penchant for a bet (punt) on the greyhounds, Ponting amassed 13,378 runs
in 168 Tests at 51.85, and 13,704 runs in 375 one-day internationals.
captain, he oversaw a painful transition in Australian cricket
following several high-profile retirements, including Warne, Glenn
McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer.
even with such greats in the ranks, Ponting, as captain, lost the 2005
Ashes in England, and despite engineering a 5-0 revenge in the ensuing
home series in 2006/07, he again lost in 2009 and 2010/11.
last failure was badly received in Australia - it was their first Ashes
loss at home for 24 years and followed a series of defeats by
Born the eldest of four children in the
working-class Tasmanian suburb of Mowbray, Ricky Thomas Ponting was
influenced to play cricket by his uncle Greg Campbell, who played Tests
for Australia in 1989 and 1990.
Ponting went on to make his state
debut at 17, the youngest to represent Tasmania in the domestic
Sheffield Shield competition, before making his international one-day
debut aged 20 in 1995.
He only scored one against South Africa in
his first match but went on to become one of cricket's batting titans,
with his Test debut coming 10 months later in December against Sri Lanka
Ponting had a rocky beginning in the public eye and was
banned for three matches in 1999 by Australian cricket chiefs following
an early-morning brawl in a Sydney bar.
Married with two
children, he is known as a campaigner against cancer and established The
Ponting Foundation with wife Rianna to raise money for young
Australians afflicted by the disease.
Cricket Australia chief
James Sutherland described him as one of the best players to ever to pad
up, and wants him to continue in the game in some capacity, although
Ponting is yet to announce his future plans.Factfile on Australia's Ricky Ponting after he was out for eight against South Africa in his final Test innings on Monday:
Name: Ricky Thomas Ponting
Bowling: Right-arm medium
Date of birth: December 19, 1974 (Age 37)
Major teams: Australia, Tasmania, Somerset
Test debut: v Sri Lanka, Perth, December 8, 1995
ODI debut : v South Africa, Wellington, February 15, 1995
T20 debut : v New Zealand, Auckland, February 17, 2005
Matches 168, Runs 13,378, Highest 257, Average 51.85, Centuries 41
Matches 375, Runs 13,704, Highest 164, Average 42.03, Strike-rate 80.39, Centuries 30
Matches 23, Runs 477, Highest 98 not out, Average 23.85, Strike-rate 121.06.