Perth: Newly retired Ricky Ponting says while India's Sachin Tendulkar was the best batsman he played against, West Indian Brian Lara was the opponent he feared most.
Ponting pulled stumps on his Australian record-equalling 168-Test career at the conclusion of the third Test loss to South Africa in Perth on Monday.
In 17 years of Test cricket, which produced 13,378 runs at 51.85 and made him the second-highest runscorer in Test history behind Tendulkar, Ponting said the pair stood out as his highest quality opponents.
"I am on record before as saying I felt Sachin was the best player I played against," he said.
"He has so much success against us in our conditions and their conditions.
"But I probably lost more sleep on the eve of games against Lara, because I knew that he could single-handedly win games for his team.
"The way I judge players is their ability to win games by themselves, and Lara could certainly do that and probably did it more than what Sachin did for India."
Lara scored 11,953 runs at 52.88 in 131 Tests, while Tendulkar has 15,562 runs at 54.60 in 192 Tests.
Ponting also nominated fellow 37-year-old Jacques Kallis, who took the catch that ended his final innings on Monday, as another modern great.
Kallis has scored 12,980 runs at 56.92 and taken 282 wickets at 32.57 in his 158 Tests.
"You have to put Kallis in that bracket as well, you put his wickets on top of what he has done with the bat," Ponting said.
"He is averaging 57 in Test cricket, and that is remarkable considering the amount he has had to bowl."
Ponting also nominated India's Harbhajan Singh as one of the bowlers that gave him the most trouble in Test cricket, along with Pakistan's Wasim Akram and West Indian Curtly Ambrose.
"Harbhajan got me out a lot of times and caused me a lot of grief," he said.