Ricky Ponting, Australia’s record run-scorer and former captain, was dismissed for eight in his last innings in Test cricket as his team lost the series-deciding match against South Africa by 309 runs.
Ponting, playing his 168th Test in a career spanning 17 years, was given a guard of honor by South Africa as he walked out to bat in Perth. He struck two boundaries before being caught at slip by Jacques Kallis off the bowling of spinner Robin Peterson. He scored four runs in the first innings.
The Australians had reached 102 runs when Ponting became the third wicket to fall, as the home side needed to post 632, the biggest-ever fourth innings total, to wrestle the world No. 1 ranking from the Proteas. Fast bowler Mitchell Starc smashed an unbeaten 68 off 43 balls to top score for Australia but by then it was too late as South Africa had reduced the hosts to 235-9.
“I’ve given cricket my all,” Ponting, 37, said when he announced his decision to retire the day before the Perth test. “I want to be a consistent performer and if you look back over the past 12-18 months I haven’t been able to perform consistently.”
Ponting, who made his test debut in the same city against Sri Lanka 17 years ago, averaged just 6.4 in the present three-match series compared with a career average of 51.85.
Ponting has amassed 13,378 runs and recorded the most appearances in the team’s history along with his predecessor as Test captain Steve Waugh.