Stumps for Ponting
The career of Australia’s best batsman since Bradman ended in Perth this afternoon.
Ricky Ponting’s final innings was disappointingly (though not unsurprisingly) modest, as he was dismissed for just eight runs. On the bright side, Ponting did at least manage to double his score from the first innings.
More impressive than Ricky’s performance with the bat was the spirit of the Perth crowd and the attitude of his South African opposition.
As Ponting strode onto the ground to a standing ovation, the South African players formed a guard of honour, highlighting the esteem in which the former Aussie captain is held by the cricketing world.
And when Jacques Kallis snared a great reflex catch at first slip to seal Ponting’s fate, he left the pitch to a farewell unlike any other in recent sporting memory.
The crowd rose to its feet again, and Ponting raised his bat and helmet for the last time, as the words “Thanks Ricky” flashed across the WACA scoreboard.
Some will argue that Ponting remained in the Test arena for too long. Ricky’s best form passed him by long ago, and he has made no real mark on this series.
But Ponting did not overstay his welcome. His reception in Perth today was evidence enough of that.
The Australian team will sorely miss Ricky’s talents, not to mention his leadership. And so will the Australian public.
We haven’t all been huge fans of Ponting over the years, but even for the doubters, there is no denying Ricky’s contribution to his team, or to the sport itself.
He will be remembered, deservedly, as one of cricket’s all time greats.
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