Ponting done, Australia undone
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I had a bit more of a fairytale ending in my own eyes than what's happened this week— Ricky Ponting
South Africa won the third Test by 309 runs Monday to clinch back-to-back series in Australia, retain the No. 1 ranking and end Ricky Ponting's career with a big defeat. Robin Peterson dismissed Ponting (8) and skipper Michael Clarke (44) as South Africa finished off at Perth with a day to spare after battling to salvage draws in Brisbane and Adelaide.
"Probably not the way I wanted to finish with that result and my own performance, but it's a special thing to play one Test match for Australia so I've been lucky to play as many as I have,'' Ponting said. "I've cherished every moment, but It was always going to end at some stage I guess.''
Australia, set an unlikely target of 632 to win, was out for 322 after a late cameo by No. 10 Mitch Starc, who ended unbeaten on 68 and shared an 87-run last wicket stand with Nathan Lyon (31).
"We fought it out with the No. 1 Test team and it was never going to be easy,'' Clarke said. "This series was never going to be given to either side. It was just unfortunate we couldn't get over the line in the first two Test matches.''
After resuming at 40-0, Australia's day started in the worst possible way when David Warner (29) was removed by Vernon Philander on the second ball without any addition to overnight score. Morne Morkel removed Shane Watson (25), also caught by Graeme Smith, to bring Ponting to the crease.
South Africans lined up in a guard of honor as Ponting made his way to the pitch, stopping momentarily to shake hands with Proteas captain Graeme Smith, with Australia at 81/2.