Former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting on Thursday said India’s Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara’s slow knock in the ongoing third Test match at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) could cost the visiting team the Test match.

Cheteshwar Pujara on the second day of the Test match smashed 106 runs off 319 deliveries as India scored 443 runs for the loss of seven wickets before India declared the innings.

India scored at less than two-and-a-half runs an over for most of the first two days of the Test, the slowest first-innings score of more than 300 in Down Under in three decades.

“If India go on and win the game, it’ll be a great innings (but) if they haven’t got time to bowl Australia out twice, it could be what actually costs them the game,” Ponting was quoted as saying to cricket.com.au. “I think it’s always hard for India to push the run rate along when Pujara’s there.”

Ponting further explaining his point said, “He’s just made another hundred, his second of the series, so he’s playing well and doesn’t really look like getting out. But he just locks himself in this little bubble where scoring doesn’t seem to faze him at all. They have got other guys in their side who are stroke-makers but if those guys don’t come off, the scoring rate is always going to be hovering around that two runs an over mark, which makes it pretty hard to win Test matches, especially on flat wickets like we might have here.”

Speaking about India’s batting in the first innings, Ricky Ponting said, the visiting team’s tactics were beyond comprehension.

“Even (since Pujara’s dismissal), it just seems like they haven’t got a lot of direction about what they’re trying to achieve. It looks like they want to bat long enough to only bat once, but just yet they haven’t got enough runs to do that,” Ponting said.

“Obviously they’ve talked long and hard about what they want to do, it’s just a bit baffling to us.”

The former Aussie skipper also encouraged Australia to barrage Kohli with short balls.

“The ball before he got out, he played a really good pull shot over mid-on, so he looked like he was moving free enough at that stage. I just think it was the intent that was shown. I’d love to see them start more that way against Kohli.”

“He doesn’t play too many cross-bat shots early on (in his innings), so I think that’s maybe something the Australians could look at and target for the rest of the series. (It) actually forced Kohli, and Pujara to a certain degree, out of their bubble. Both of those guys were in their bubble, they weren’t taking any risks and they were playing the way they wanted to play,” Ricky Ponting concluded.