Farewell, Punter! Ponting honoured during final innings for Oz… but he bows out with a whimper in crushing defeat to South Africa
09:24 GMT, 3 December 2012
Ricky Ponting's final innings for Australia ended in disappointment as he managed just eight on the fourth morning of the third Test against South Africa as the tourists clinched the series 1-0 with an impressive 309-run victory.
Having announced his retirement prior to the match Ponting mustered just four in the first innings and fared little better in his last hurrah, thick-edging Robin Peterson to slip three balls before the lunch break at Perth.
South Africa welcomed Ponting to the crease with a respectful guard of honour but there was to be no fitting finale for the second highest run-scorer in Test history.
One of the greats: Ricky Ponting salutes the crowd at the WACA after his final international innings
Stand by your man: Rianna Ponting applauds her husband during his last appearance for Australia
Australia, chasing 632 for an unlikely
victory, resumed this morning on 40 without loss but suffered the worst
possible start when dangerous opener David Warner was dismissed by the
second ball of the day for his overnight score of 29.
Vernon Philander was responsible,
sending down a fine delivery that would have threatened off stump had
Warner not nicked it to Graeme Smith at first slip.
Ed Cowan hit the first four of the day
three balls later but the aim of the day was defence and consolidation
as Philander and Dale Steyn sent down a testing opening spell.
No 3 Shane Watson hit his 12th
ball for four, while the circumspect Cowan put away a Steyn full-toss
for his second boundary.
Watson found the ropes in three
consecutive overs but he was next out for 25 when Morne Morkel squared
him up and found the edge to offer Smith a second catch.
That brought Ponting to the crease for
the final time and, as well as a warm ovation from the stands, the
opposition lined up to form a guard of honour to the wicket.
Ponting stopped to shake hands with
Proteas skipper Smith and, after Cowan stole some of the spotlight with a
six off Peterson, got off the mark by pulling his sixth delivery for
Respect: Ponting was given a guard of honour by South Africa's players as he headed onto the field to bat
On the pull: Ponting bats in his last Test innings, but his stay at the crease was to be a short one
All over: Ponting's final dismissal came after nicking the ball to Jacques Kallis (left) at slip off Robin Peterson
Prized wicket: Peterson celebrates
Luck seemed to be on the 37-year-old's
side when he was gifted a second boundary, Morkel mis-fielding at
mid-on, but that proved his last scoring shot.
Left-arm spinner Peterson got one to
bite and bounce outside off stump and Ponting mis-hit an unwise cut
straight to the alert Jacques Kallis.
The Proteas clamoured to shake his
hand as he departed to plentiful applause before his successor as
Australia skipper, Michael Clarke, struck the last two balls of the
session for four.
AB De Villiers was involved in the
next two wickets, stumping Clarke off Peterson for 44 and then catching
Michael Hussey off Steyn for 26.
Matthew Wade was joined by all-rounder
John Hastings with the home side on 198 for six and South Africa were
on the verge of an impressive victory.
Wade went for 10, caught by Smith at short midwicket when he mistimed a Peterson delivery.
Australia ended the session on 204 for seven, with Hastings and Mitchell Johnson battling against the inevitable.
Philander found the edge of Johnson's
bat and De Villiers took a regulation catch as Australia failed to add
to their total in the first three overs after tea.
Well played: South Africa captain Graeme Smith shakes hands with Ponting after his dismissal
Farewell: Australia legend Ponting walks off the pitch for the last time in international cricket
Hastings went for a belligerent 20, caught at first slip by Smith off Morkel.
Mitchell Starc also hit out, his 68
off 43 balls including two sixes and nine fours, as he and Nathan Lyon
put on a battling 87 for the final wicket.
But they were only putting off the
inevitable and after South Africa took the new ball Lyon was finally out
for 31 when he was caught at slip by Smith off Steyn.
That left the home side all out for
322 for a 309-run defeat and a 1-0 series loss which confirmed South
Africa as the number one ranked Test side.