Don't remember Damien Martyn's past two weeks when thinking of his wonderful career. Forget his ugly stepping-away-slice to gully at Adelaide, an act which unfortunately became his last in the Test arena. Disregard the crunching, lofted boundary the ball before, a wildly impressive stroke that wasn't from the Martyn catalogue.

Treat the two swipes as those of a man wrestling with himself and the last deep breaths of his career. They are not the parts of Martyn's game that will glisten forever. Australia has been fortunate to have so many batting artists and Martyn has carried a brush held by Victor Trumper, Greg Chappell and Mark Waugh.

They were players who made succeeding against high-quality bowling seem as easy as using cutlery. What people didn't realise was it was bloody hard work. Beneath the seemingly carefree flicks and flourishes were red cedar-tough approaches. In the past couple of months Martyn's motivation has faltered and after the problems of Adelaide he has downed tools. It is sad, but it was time for him to go.

At 35 he had been unable to recapture the easy collecting of the first half of the decade. The Test recall for South Africa in March came as a surprise and despite a century in the final game he was never able to keep pace.

Hitting catches behind the wicket had been tolerated throughout his career as the cut and square drive were his strengths, but in the first two Tests it became a terminal weakness. Three times he fell and was unable to alter his tactics. Like many retirees trying to learn about the internet, he decided it was better to stick to old ways and suffer the consequences. Strangely, he stayed at the top in the one-day game and after his performances in India last month seemed a certainty to defend the World Cup.

From the outside, Martyn has always been his own man. He has shunned the big talk of his team-mates and operated away from the action. Despite being one of the game's most attractive players his off-field time in the public eye was short and his decision to be unavailable for comment on the day of his retirement was not surprising or disappointing. His best statements have come on the field through 13 centuries and most of his 4406 runs.

A new life beckons for Martyn, who married Annika McNamara in the off-season. McNamara rides horses competitively and life on the farm has slowed Martyn down. He wasn't into the animals at the beginning of the relationship, but it would not be a shock if he is soon riding them effortlessly. It is how his sweet batting deserves to be remembered.