There was no fairytale end to Ricky Ponting's international cricket career. South Africa beat Australia by a massive 309 runs in Perth last night (NZ time). Ponting's contribution to the match was two single figure scores.
When he came out to bat yesterday, the South Africans greeted him in a very special way. Ponting is of similar ilk; he plays the game as hard as anyone. He admitted after the match to having been touched and taken aback by the Proteas' gesture towards him.
There was to be no heroic last stand however. Ponting hit a couple of boundaries, thewn slashed at a ball from South African spinner Robin Peterson, and his adversary Jacques Kallis took a smart catch to his right at slip. Ricky Ponting's test career was over.
Ponting left the WACA arena to a standing ovation and saluted the crowd as he departed. He leaves test cricket with 13,378 test runs to his credit at an average of 51.85. He scored 41 test centuries, with a highest score of 257. At his best, he was one of the greatest batsmen to have played the game. But in the last couple of seasons there have been signs that his best was behind him, and he has sensibly retired rather than suffering the ignominy of being dropped.
Vale Ricky "Punter" Ponting. The Australian side will not quite be the same without you.