Ponting denied his 'fairytale' ending

PA Sport
Ricky Ponting managed just eight runs in his final innings for Australia
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Ricky Ponting managed just eight runs in his final innings for Australia

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting admitted that he had dreamed of a fairytale finish to his 168-game Test career at the WACA.

The former skipper managed just eight runs in his final innings as Australia were bowled out for 322, losing the third Test by 309 runs and going down to a second successive home series defeat at the hands of South Africa in the process.

"In my own mind I knew it was the right time to be walking away," Ponting said. "I just had a bit more of a fairytale ending in my own eyes than what's happened this week."

He added: "We haven't got the result that we were after and I haven't got the result that I was after and I've been so wrapped up in the moment and in the game that I haven't had time to think about anything else other than trying to get some runs."

Holding his eldest daughter in his arms during the first part of the press conference, the 37-year-old paid tribute to his family and insisted that his decision to call time on his Test career was the right one.

"It's been a long, tough week," he said. "I know I've been more nervous in this game than any other game that I've played, just for the reason of how much it means to me to play for Australia and wanting to finish it in the right way.

"I haven't been able to deal with the pressure as well of late as I would have liked to. Normally when those big moments have come around and I've been under pressure, I've been able to find something within to go out and score runs and make it all go away.

"But I haven't been able to do that for a while now and that was when the alarm bells started to ring."

Ponting was also deeply touched by the sight of the South Africans forming a guard of honour to welcome him when he headed out to the crease. "That caught me by surprise," he said. "Graeme [Smith] and the South African boys' gesture, that will remain with me forever and I told them that on the field.

And when asked how he hopes to be remembered, Ponting's reply was a humble one. "I've been pretty blessed to play in an era with so many great batsmen and if my name gets mentioned amongst them, then that's great," he said.

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