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Ponting hits century in first-class farewell

Captain Ricky Ponting of Australia bats in Canberra on January 29, 2013. Ponting bowed out in style as the former Australia captain hit 169 not out for Surrey in his final first-class innings against NottinghamshireAFP/File

Ricky Ponting bowed out in style as the former Australia captain hit 169 not out for Surrey in his final first-class innings against Nottinghamshire on Thursday.

Ponting had moved from his overnight 41 to 108 by lunch on the final day of the County Championship First Division match at the Oval and he remained unbeaten throughout his 319-ball innings, which included 18 fours, to help Surrey rescue a draw.

The 38-year-old, who retired from international cricket in December 2012 with a Test average of 51.85, had reached the landmark of 24,000 first-class runs at the start of his second innings on Wednesday.

After being dismissed for just 29 in the first innings, Ponting made the most of his final chance and reached three figures by charging down the pitch to spinner Samit Patel and smashing a four.

It was the second century of Ponting's short spell at Surrey after he hit 192 on his debut against Derbyshire.

By reaching three figures, Ponting went past Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Mark Waugh in the all-time list of first-class hundred makers to join current Australia coach Darren Lehmann on 82.

Just before tea, Ponting lifted Graeme White for two fours in an over. Having faced 294 deliveries, Ponting went past the 150-mark with an all run four to the point boundary shortly after the break.

Ponting, who will retire from all forms of cricket in October, was still there when the match was declared a draw, lifting his first-class run tally to 24,150 runs at an average of 55.90 in 289 appearances.

Cricket Australia tweeted their congratulations to their former skipper: "Massive congratulations to Ricky Ponting for scoring a century in his final FC innings. A true champion of the game!"

Although Ponting will not make any more Championship appearances for Surrey, with South Africa's JP Duminy set to replace him as the county's overseas player, he will be turning out for them in one-day matches until the end of July.

While Australia's batsmen struggled against England in the first innings of the opening Ashes test at Trent Bridge, another of their former players was also in the runs as Lancashire's Simon Katich scored 200 in their Championship match against Northamptonshire.