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There was no fairytale Test career ending for Ricky Ponting after Australia were rolled 309 runs short of a mammoth South African total late on the fourth day of the third Test in Perth.

South Africa won the series 1-0 and remain the world number one team, a mantle that could have been snatched had Australia won this Test following draws in the previous two matches of the series.

Ponting was given a heroes’ welcome as he strode to the crease for his final innings, with a standing ovation from the crowd and a guard of honour from his opponents.

But then it was down to business. He looked sharp early on, but it was over as quick as it began, Punter dismissed for eight from the bowling of Robin Peterson and the big mits of Graeme Smith at first slip.

Though obviously disappointed, Ponting raised his bat and helmet to a standing crowd, deservedly leaving the Test arena to a rapturous applause.

He ends his career on 13,378 Test runs at an average of 51.85. 

Peterson and Dale Steyn finished the innings with three wickets each.

Australian bowler Mitchell Starc did what the batsmen couldn’t, smashing 69 not out off 43 balls at the death.

His partnership with Nathan Lyon was a record for the 10th wicket at the WACA, but it was about all the Aussies had to celebrate today.

Opener Ed Cowan was the only other batsman to trouble the scorers in the second innings, scoring a plucky 53 before uncharacteristically holing out in the deep.

Set a record total of 632 for victory, Australia were bowled out for 322.

Unfortunately for Michael Clarke’s Australians, this was the only Test of the three-match series that the Proteas were in a position to win, after stellar performances from the captain in Brisbane and Adelaide. But they showed why they're the best in the world and took to opportunity when it arose.

Australia's fragile batting line-up was exposed in this Test, with miserly totals in both innings when Clarke didn’t make three figures.

They'll be looking to improve when Australia next plays Sri Lanka on December 14.

Images via Getty


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