Ponting, 37, will call time on a storied international career as the second highest run-scorer in Test history and the most successful captain of all time with 48 Test wins.
“This Test will be my last,” he said at a hastily-called press conference on Thursday, adding that he will continue to play for Tasmania in the domestic competition this summer.
Ponting, who turns 38 next month, has failed in three innings against the Proteas during draws in Brisbane and Adelaide and pressure has been building on the veteran ahead of Friday’s series decider in Perth.
Perth will be a fitting conclusion to a remarkable career.
It is where he debuted against Sri Lanka in 1995 and by playing Friday he will equal Steve Waugh’s mark of 168 Test matches — the most in the history of Australian cricket.
The Tasmanian, who has 13,336 Test runs to his name, including 41 centuries with only Indian legendSachin Tendulkar scoring more, said it was time to call it a day.
“Over the last couple of weeks my level of performance hasn’t been good enough,” he said.
“My passion and love for the game hasn’t changed but at the end of the day (the decision) was based on my results.
“In this series so far they have not been up to the level required of batsmen and players in the Australian team.
“I’m glad I have got the opportunity to finish on my terms.
After being made Australian captain in 2004, the right-hander went onto become one of the country’s greatest cricketers.
As captain he oversaw a painful transition in Australian cricket in the wake of several high-profile retirements, including Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Michael Bevan and Justin Langer.
Highest score: 257
Highest score: 164