Trent Ball: Aussies must win for Ponting

AUSTRALIA must win this Test match in Perth.

Not just to reclaim the No.1 ranking in world cricket from South Africa, but for Ricky Ponting.

The little champion deserves to go out as a winner.

When someone like South African captain Graeme Smith describes him as the most competitive player he has seen in international cricket, it gives you a fair idea how he’s rated by his peers.

The tears from Michael Clarke are another example of this.

Ponting has commanded the respect of the cricketing world in his 20 years at the top and it’s shattering that this Test is going to be his last.

It’s pretty obvious he wanted to go out on his own terms after a lean run and deep down I’m sure he would be hurting at missing next year’s Ashes series in England.

The selectors should have come out and said they were behind him until after the Sri Lankan series.

Ponting was hitting the ball as well as anyone heading into this series and I honestly believe he’s just a little down on luck with a couple of snicks and a pearler of a delivery from Jacques Kallis.

Clarke has been compared with Don Bradman in this series but, let’s face it, he has played and missed more than Hugh Hefner with his women.

I have Ponting in the top six players I have seen, along with Shane Warne, Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Adam Gilchirst and Glenn McGrath.

It’s a huge blow losing Peter Siddle for this Test after his heroics the other day and I just hope the Aussies can cover him with their new-look bowling attack.