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Michael Clarke pays tribute to Ricky Ponting who made his final appearance for Australia on Monday

Michael Clarke with Ricky Pointing (left)

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Michael Clarke wants the cricketing authorities in Australia to keep Ricky Ponting involved in the sport.

The 37-year-old, one of the all-time greats of the game, brought the curtain down on his glittering international career on Monday as Australia were handsomely beaten by South Africa in Perth.

The 309-run victory by the tourists earned the Proteas a 1-0 series win which keeps them top of the world rankings.

But despite this disappointing result, skipper Clarke wanted to celebrate the career of the Tasmanian who made 41 Test tons and 30 ODI hundreds.

Clarke said: "I've said before I hope Cricket Australia do everything in their power to keep him involved in this great game because he's one of a kind and I think the game needs him.

"What a sad day for Australian cricket to lose such a great player. He deserves all the credit he's certainly getting.

"He's one of the greatest players I've been lucky enough to play with. The team wishes him all the best for the future."

As for the defeat by South Africa, Clarke added: "We tried our best but unfortunately we got beaten by the better team.

"They're the number one Test side in the world and they showed that throughout this series."

Meanwhile, Ed Cowan has been awarded a central contract by Australia.

The 30-year-old has played 10 Tests, scoring one century and four half-centuries, including 53 against South Africa in Perth.