Australian captain Michael Clarke says the emotion of Ricky Ponting’s retirement announcement did not drain the team in their emphatic third Test loss to South Africa in Perth.
Clarke said the second Test draw was the more relevant influence on Australia’s sudden demise a few days later to surrender the series.
The Proteas’ gutsy effort to save what looked to be a lost Test in Adelaide gave the world No.1 side renewed belief heading to Perth and by contrast robbed Australia of momentum.
“I don’t want to take anything away from South Africa; they showed why they’re the best team in the world,” Clarke said.
“What South Africa showed us was when they had momentum they ran with it for as long as they possibly could and when they didn’t they did everything in their power to fight their backside off.
“From Adelaide they ran with the momentum and outplayed us.”
Clarke said Ponting served as an inspiration rather than a burden and said Australia wouldn’t realise what they’ve lost until it’s gone.
“I still don’t think it has hit the players fully yet,” he said.
“I think it will in the first Test against Sri Lanka when we walk out and see he’s not there.
“It was always going to be an emotional time, but I don’t think it had an affect on why we didn’t play as well as we wanted to this Test match.
“If anything it surely has to inspire you knowing it’s his last game … it’s certainly not to blame.
“With Ricky it’s not all about what he does on the field, it’s off the field, around the dressing room and at training.
“What a player he’s been. He deserves all the accolades, and it’s really important Cricket Australia do everything they can to keep him involved in the game.”