He said: “Ricky’s announcement will only give us inspiration to win this game.”

He managed the obvious about his mentor, former captain, friend and idol: “He’s been an amazing player for a long time.”

But then emotion took over. “That’ll do me for today,” he said, before a journalist kindly offered to change the subject to spinner Nathan Lyon.

Clarke was announcing the 12 who will line-up for the third Test against South Africa in Perth – one to be omitted when he has a closer look at the pitch before the start of play – but that was completely overshadowed by legend Ponting’s announcement that this will be his last appearance for his country.

Clarke said the “boys are hurting” after Punter pulled the pin on an extraordinary career that will leave him remembered as one of the all-time greats.

Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus have been rested for the match, with fears they are too fatigued following a tough outing in Adelaide, which ended in a draw. John Hastings and Josh Hazlewood could debut, with Lyon a chance of being left out if the pitch looks pace-friendly.

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