Ricky Ponting's last stand adds spice to S Africa decider
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Former undisputed top dogs Australia are desperate to ensure Ricky Ponting ends his career in style by reclaiming the number one ranking from South Africa in the final Test starting tomorrow.
The Australians have not been at the summit of Test cricket since 2009 but draws in the first two Tests mean they can replace the Proteas as the number one team with a win in Perth.
South Africa only need a draw to retain their crown.
Ponting's announcement today that he would retire after the match, which will see him equal Steve Waugh's Australian record of 168 Tests, has added spice to an already keenly anticipated clash.
Captain Michael Clarke said Australia, currently ranked number three in the world, were determined to see Ponting's stellar international career end on a high note.
"It will only give us more inspiration, there is no doubt about that," Clarke said of Ponting's surprise retirement.
"It is a grand final for us, it is why you play the game, to play this final Test match against the number one team in the world and know that if you win you will be the number one team in the world.
"Ricky's announcement will only give us more inspiration to do everything we can to win this game.
"Ponting, who has scored 13,366 Test runs at 52.
21 including 41 centuries, has just 20 runs at 6.
66 in this series and said he was determined to produce something special in his final appearance on the Test stage.
"This is an unbelievable opportunity," said the 37-year-old.
"I said to the boys I am hungrier than ever and I want this win more than probably any game I have ever played in.
"I will do whatever I can to contribute to a great team performance and if that leads to a win for the team and we get back to the top of the tree and number one in the world, there is no better time for me to finish.