Millennium Post (Kolkata)

India lose yet again to Australia, this time 1-3 in 4th hockey Test

All the four goals in the match, which started 40 minutes late due to lightning, came from penalty corners


PERTH: India continued their dismal show in the crucial tour Down Under, losing 1-3 against Australia to suffer their fourth consecutiv­e defeat in the fivematch men’s hockey Test series, here on Friday. Contrary to the final result, it was a muchimprov­ed performanc­e from the Indians but the Kookaburra­s were simply too strong.

All the four goals in the match, which started 40 minutes late due to lightning, came from penalty corners. India took the lead in the 12th minute through skipper Harmanpree­t Singh but Jeremy Hayward’s (19th, 47th) brace and Jack

Welch (54th) strike handed Australia yet another win in the series. India were decimated 1-5 in the opening Test, while they lost the second and third Tests 2-4 and 1-2 respective­ly.

It was an entertaini­ng first quarter with both the teams matching each other.

India had the first shy at the goal in the opening minute through Mandeep Singh, whose hit from the top of the circle off skipper Harmanpree­t’s Singh’s pass from the deep was saved by an alert Australian keeper. The Kookaburra­s were not to be left behind as they secured back-to-back penalty corners in the second minute but veteran India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh was superb under the bar, making twin saves to deny their opponents.

Unlike the previous three games where they relied more on aerial long passes to penetrate the Australian defence, the Indians used the midfield smartly, building their attacks with fine ball transfer. It worked well as India secured their first penalty corner in the 10th minute but Jugraj Singh failed to convert the chance.

A minute later, Australia earned their third penalty corner, followed by another but the Indians defended stoutly.

India took the lead in the 12th minute when Harmanpree­t converted their second penalty corner with a low and hard flick to the left of the goalkeeper.

Down a goal, the Kookaburra­s put relentless pressure on the Indians and drew level in the 19th minute when Hayward

converted their fifth penalty corner with a powerful flick.

Soon, Rajkumar Pal’s reverse hit from the top of the circle hit the post for India. Minutes later, Australia secured their sixth penalty corner but reserve goalkeeper Suraj Karkera made a brilliant save to keep his side in the contest. There was nothing to separate the two teams in the first half as both matched each other stick for stick. Minutes after the change of ends, India secured another penalty corner but Harmanpree­t failed to breach the Australian defence.

Thereafter, it was a mid-field slugfest with both India and

Australia seemingly in no mood to give an inch as the 1-1 deadlock continued.

Two minutes into the final quarter, Australia earned backto-back penalty corners, the second of which was converted by Hayward with another fierce low flick to the right of reserve keeper Karkera, who replaced Krishan Bahadur in the team.

Six minutes later, Australia secured another penalty corner and this time Welch sounded the board. India had their chances as well in the form of three penalty corners in the last four minutes but wasted the opportunit­ies.

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