Ricky Ponting admits he’s frustrated he was unable to turn his mountain of Sheffield Shield runs into Test success this summer.
But the former Australian captain has no regrets about his retirement from the international game after the series against South Africa.
Ponting’s unbeaten 138 to rescue Tasmania on day one of the Shield game against NSW at Bellerive took his tally in the competition to 493 runs in five matches at the staggering average of 164.33.
It’s form he was unable to produce against the Proteas in November, with just 32 runs in five innings and a top score of 16.
“It is frustrating,” Ponting told reporters at Bellerive.
“When it really came round to me being under pressure and needing to stand up and score runs for Australia, I couldn’t do it.
” … But I’ve got no regrets about it, even playing as I did today.
“My time’s up and I’ve been happy with every day since retirement.”
Ponting looked in vintage touch as he cracked 20 fours and a six, his 178-run partnership with Jason Krejza taking the Tigers from a precarious 6-132 to a credible 6-310 at stumps.
The 38-year-old clipped Blues paceman Trent Copeland (2-74) for four to bring up his 79th first-class ton after moving from 91 to 97 with a monster six off legspinner Adam Zampa (0-52).
“Walking out today is nowhere near like the pressure I was putting on myself at the start of the South African series,” Ponting said.
“Right through my career, I was always able to deal with that and probably played better in those pressure moments at international level.
“It just got to the stage where I couldn’t do it any more.”
Krejza proved the perfect foil, hitting eight fours and a six in his 152-ball knock, although he was bowled by a Copeland no-ball when he was 41.
The Tigers collapsed after openers Mark Cosgrove (36) and Ben Dunk (13) had put on 53 for the opening wicket, returning Blues paceman Josh Hazlewood the chief destroyer with 3-64.
Hazlewood said his six weeks on the sidelines with a foot injury after he’d been Australia’s 12th man for the Perth Test had been tough.
“You bust your arse to get to that position, so close to the team, and then you get there and an injury comes so it’s just bad luck,” he said.
He said he was hoping to play in Australia A’s one-day matches against the England Lions later this month.
“I guess they’re going to try and pick those guys that are on the fringes for the Aussie team and good performances there could lead towards an Ashes tour,” he said.