Ricky Ponting announces retirement from Test cricket
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Australia's highest test run-scorer and former captain Ricky Ponting has announced he will retire from international cricket.
The 37-year-old former said Thursday the third test against South Africa starting Friday will be his last.
Ponting will equal Steve Waugh's record of 168 test appearances for Australia in the Perth match and he retires with a current test total of 13,336 runs, second only to Sachin Tendulkar.
His decision follows some poor form in the first and second tests and a meeting Wednesday with the Australian selectors.
"Over the last couple of weeks my level of performance hasn't been good enough,'' Ponting said. "My passion and love for the game hasn't changed.
Ponting informed his teammates of his decision Thursday morning and the entire Australia squad attended the news conference at which he made his retirement public. He said he will continue to play for Tasmania state until the end of the current season and captain a Prime Ministers XI against Sri Lanka in early 2013.
"At the end of the day (the decision) was based on my results. In this series so far they have not been up to the level required of batsmen and players in the Australian team.
"I'm glad to have got the opportunity to finish on my terms.''
Ponting said he hoped to finish his test career with a victory over South Africa, which would give Australia a 1-0 series win after the first two matches were drawn.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he and Ricky exchanged text messages earlier Thursday after Ponting made his decision overnight.
"Ricky has had an extra-ordinary career and has made an extra-ordinary contribution, including through the example he has set for other elite players and through the excitement he has given fans, young and old,'' Sutherland said in a statement.
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