On Thursday, former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting took a dig at Cheteshwar Pujara’s low strike-rate in the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Pujara notched his 17th Test century scoring 106 runs from 319 deliveries. He also partnered well with the skipper Virat Kohli adding 170 runs for the third wicket. With the help of that partnership, India managed to declare at the score of 443/7 half an hour before the end of day two.
As per the quotes in cricket.com.au., Ponting said, “If India goes on and win the game, it’ll be great innings (but) if they haven’t got time to bowl Australia out twice … it could be what actually costs them the game. I think it’s always hard for India to push the run rate along when Pujara’s there. 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.”
However, it should also be noticed that none of India’s top five batsmen scored at a run rate of over 50. The former Australian batsman applauds Pujara but he feels that scoring at two runs per over can make winning Test matches hard on flat decks such as the one at MCG.
Ponting further elaborated, “They’ve 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.”
However, the batting legend also added that the Indians were playing the long game and were aiming to drain-out the Australian players. He said, “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. Obviously, they’ve talked long and hard about what they want to do; it’s just a bit baffling to us.”
Virat Kohli’s men declared for 443/7 but failed to pick a wicket in the remaining 6 overs of Day 2. Australia reached 8/0 at Stumps, with Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris at the crease.