Veteran batsman Ricky Ponting's 168-Test career ended in disappointing fashion on Monday, when Australia slumped to a 309-run defeat - and one-nil series loss - to South Africa on day four of the third and final match at the WACA in Perth.
Ponting managed a mere 12 runs in the match, falling for eight in the second innings, as the Australians' pursuit of a hefty 632-run target only amounted to 322 all out. The margin would have read considerably bigger had tail-enders Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon not lopped off an additional 87 runs for the 10th wicket.
The 37-year-old stalwart was afforded a guard of honour by the Proteas XI upon his arrival to the crease, and a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd when he departed.
"This isn't the way I wanted to finish my career. I always pride myself on big performances on the team, but obviously it hasn't unfolded the way I would have liked in the end, especially in this match," said Ponting.
"That was an unexpected gesture from the South Africans, really. I was a little bit embarrassed by such an amazing gesture. I've cherished every moment of my career, though, and it was always going to end at some stage."
The right-handed Ponting scored 41 Test centuries and 30 ODIs during an international career that spanned over 17 years - and suggested the near double-century against Pakistan at the WACA in 1999 and 2003's 140 not out against India in Johannesburg were the pick of the bunch.
"I have not had a lot of time to reflect, rather I've been wrapped up in what needed doing in this match. Ashes series were always special, and and series against South Africa," he added.
"Perhaps the knock of 197 against Pakistan during the 1999 - 2000 season over here in Perth was my best ever knock. The century I got in the 2003 World Cup final against India was pretty special too.
"Winning three straight World Cups was great, captaining the side in a couple of them too. There have been a lot of special moments through my career, through my 168 Tests."
Ponting has not retired from all cricket. He will continue to represent Tasmania in first-class cricket - and the Hobart Hurricanes in the Twenty20 Big Bash League.