Ricky Ponting has announced his retirement from Test cricket. The former Australian captain said the Perth Test will be the final of his career.
"This Test match will be my last," Ponting told a press conference on Thursday.
The 37-year-old has been under immense pressure to keep his place in the Australian side with a poor start to the summer against the Proteas in which he's made only 20 runs in three innings.
"Over the last couple of weeks my level of performance hasn’t been good enough," he said.
"My passion and love for the game hasn't changed.
"At the end of the day (the decision) was based on my results.
‘‘In this series so far they have not been up to the level required of batsmen and players in the Australian team.
‘‘I’m glad I have got the opportunity to finish on my terms.’’
Ponting said he would in no way be distracted for the series-deciding Test against South Africa where the world No.1 ranking is up for grabs.
‘‘I want this win more than any other game I have played in.’’
Ponting will equal Steve Waugh’s mark of 168 Test matches in this match, the most in the history of Australian cricket.
The entire Australian squad turned up for the press conference on Thursday in Perth where Ponting made his announcement.
Australian skipper Michael Clarke broke down as he addressed Ponting’s retirement.‘‘I didn’t have a feeling it was coming,’’ Clarke said.
‘‘Ricky spoke to me after the Adelaide Test match . . . he’d made his decision over the last little while, the last few days. The boys are obviously hurting at the moment. He’s been an amazing player for a long time.’’
Turning 38 next month, Ponting is the highest Australian run-scorer of all time and has been described as the greatest Australian batsman outside Sir Donald Bradman.
The Tasmanian has 13,336 Test runs to his name, only Indian Sachin Tendulkar has scored more in the history of cricket.
Ponting bought what now appears to be an extra year to his career last summer with a stellar series against India in which he scored two centuries on the way to a series tally of 544 runs at a princely average of 108.
His century at the SCG ended a run of 33 innings, spanning two years, without a ton.
Ponting, however, was unable to carry that hot form to the Caribbean where dogged by bad luck and freak dismissals he made just one half-century from six innings, averaging a modest 24.33.
A strong start to the summer in the Shield for Tasmania left him with high hopes he could return to his best against the world No.1 South Africans but pressure on his position in the side grew after scores of zero, four and 16 in the first two Tests.
Ponting, who led Australia to three Ashes defeats, had been hoping to continue his career to next year's twin series against England.Australia's failure to regain the urn two years ago was his final series as Test captain.
with Andrew Wu and AAP