Ponting announces retirement
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has announced he will retire at the end of the third Test against South Africa.
The 37-year-old, who is the second highest run scorer in Test history after Sachin Tendulkar, confirmed his decision in Perth on the eve of the match, drawing to an end a 17-year career at the highest level.
Despite a strong start to the Sheffield Shield summer, Ponting's future has been the subject of much speculation following a dismal two Tests against the Proteas in Brisbane and Adelaide, scoring just 20 runs.
Ponting told a press conference at the WACA Ground he planned to continue playing state cricket for Tasmania and in the Big Bash with Hobart Hurricanes.
The Perth Test will be Ponting's 168th, meaning he will finish his career level with former captain Steve Waugh as Australia's most-capped Test player.
Heading into his final match the Tasmanian, who will turn 38 next month, has scored an Australian-record 13,366 runs at an average of 52.21, including 41 centuries and a highest score of 257.
Ponting's retirement comes nine months after he quit the one-day international arena and just under two years after he relinquished the captaincy of the Test squad following the 2010/11 Ashes loss.
His 48 Test wins as captain was another Australian record, although his leadership will also be remembered for three Ashes defeats, the first of them in 2005 coming after his country had held the famous urn for 16 years.
After making his debut in 1995/96 against Sri Lanka, scoring 96 before being given out LBW to a delivery that appeared set to bounce over the top of the stumps, Ponting became Australia's most prolific batsman.
Ponting was named ICC Player of the Year twice, in 2006 and '07, the international body's Test player of the year three times - in 2003, '04 and '06 - won the Allan Border Medal in 2004, '06, '07 and '09 and as well as being the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2006 was also CricInfo's Player of the Decade for 2000-09.