IN THE end it was an emotion-charged silence as skipper Michael Clarke fought back tears that said more than any words could to describe the contribution Ricky Ponting had made to Australian cricket.
Ponting yesterday ended questions about his tenure in the national side by announcing the third Test, which starts in Perth tomorrow, would be his last.
The 37-year-old, Australia's highest test run-scorer with 13,336 at an average of 52.21, insisted the decision had been his own and was based on loss of form rather than loss of passion for the game.
"This is not a decision that's been made by the selectors - it's a decision that's been made by me," Ponting said.
"It's a decision that obviously I've thought long and hard about. At the end of the day it's more based on my results, and my output in this series hasn't been what I expect of myself and hasn't been what is required of a player in the Australian team."
Ponting will equal the record of the man he replaced as captain, Steve Waugh, with his 168th test appearance in Perth.
His tally of runs in the five-day game is second only to Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar who has 15,562 test runs to his credit at an average of 54.60.
While emotions will be high when he walks out to bat at the WACA, Ponting said he was focused on helping Australia win the match and regain the world No.1 test ranking.
"I'll continue to play for Tasmania until the end of the season, but my immediate focus now is what we're presented with tomorrow ... that's an unbelievable opportunity," he said.
"I'm hungrier than ever - I want this win more than any game I've ever played in."
Tributes flowed in for the former Australian skipper after his announcement, South African captain Graeme Smith describing Ponting as someone who "never gave an inch" as a player, and was "always making an impact on a test match".
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said it was difficult to overstate the contribution Ponting had made to the game.
"Ricky has had an extraordinary career and has made an extraordinary contribution, including through the example he has set for other elite players and through the excitement he has given fans, young and old," Sutherland said.
And Clarke, who replaced Ponting as skipper last year, reflected the feelings of the Australian players when asked whether he suspected the announcement was imminent.
"No I didn't have a feeling it was coming," Clarke said.
"The boys are obviously hurting, he has been an amazing player for a long time."
Clarke then choked back tears, no words needed to spell out how all the players felt about the man called "Punter".
PONTING FACT FILE
- In Dec, 1995 made 96 in test debut against Sri Lanka in Perth
- In 2003 became the second player, after Don Bradman, to score three test double-centuries in a calendar year
- In 2004 became Australia's 42nd test captain
- In 2007 led Australia to third straight World Cup win
In 2009 became just the second Aussie captain to lose two Ashes series
Located in a quiet no through lane, about 20 minutes to Byron Bay in the charming village of Federal, is this beautifully maintained property that boasts a natural...
Peacefully located on a large 830sqm block, this character filled home is ripe with potential to add your touch and reap the rewards. The horseshoe shaped floor...
"Taronga" is an elevated property capturing expansive rural and ocean views. Situated in a tightly held location surrounded by large rural holding, this home is...
Located in a highly desirable area of Byron Bay, this well built modern home is perfectly suited to spacious living and will be attractive to both families and...
Located in a quiet cul-de-sac, this split level home offers plenty of space for the growing family or extra income. * 702sqm block with established gardens *...
Set in a peaceful surrounding, this grand home has been recently renovated by its current owners who have already found their next home. Generous proportions with...
Located in popular Beachside Suffolk Park, this solid double brick home is ideally situated only one block from the beach. With multiple living spaces, this home...
A unique opportunity exists to build an architecturally designed home in the prestigious and highly popular Oasis Resort. Elevated and secluded, this 302m2 block...
This solid brick and tile home is brilliantly located in one of the quietest settings close to town. The property overlooks a park, and a scenic 300 metre walk...
Set on 2030m2 in an exclusive cul-de-sac with unparalleled views of Cape Byron Lighthouse and a stunning bush outlook over treetops, this elevated property has a...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.