Ricky Ponting has announced that the Perth Test will be his last. As one can probably infer, I never really liked Ponting. I came to cricket just before Ponting became captain and in many ways Ponting embodied Australia to me. He was an unbelievably talented batsman for most of his career, clearly cared deeply about the game and had a desire to win at all costs. He was also apt to lose it if things started really going against him and in recent years has been an easy target of mockery. But he was undoubtedly a great of the game and it is always momentous and a bit sad to see one go regardless of who you support or what you thought of them.
Ponting made the right move by retiring now; he was not yet embarrassing himself, but his first innings dismissal at Adelaide was close and I expect that the last thing he, or any cricket fan, wanted was for the selectors to make the decision for him. My partisan instincts would have preferred that he stayed on, of course, but the game is better for him to retire now with dignity and I am glad that he did.
The first part of my tribute to the illustrious career of Ricky Ponting is a reminder of what of the best/most incredibly annoying innings: the match-saving 156 he made at Old Trafford in 2005.
The second part of my tribute is not, or at least not yet, posting the Gary Pratt incident from the subsequent Test.