Proof, if one is ever needed, that why Australia ranks as the best team in the world was clear as crystal to the huge gathering here on Thursday.

The 5-2 verdict against the home team in Pool ‘A' of the men's hockey event underscored the efficacy of adeptness and athleticism that the Aussies often exhibit with a touch of incandescence.

India clearly enjoyed the territorial advantage for well over 20 minutes in the first half, after conceding two goals within six minutes.

Dharamvir Singh scored a peach of a goal showing a good body dodge, but there the buck stopped. India could not make much headway despite forcing five penalty corners, three of them in five minutes.

The Aussies weathered the pressure with equanimity, thanks to the alacrity of the goal-keeper Nathan Burgers. Neither Sandeep Singh, nor Mahadik, could come out with a variation to stun him or the defenders.

Throughout the second half, India was outplayed by the ferocity of the surges that resulted in three goals. The best came from Glenn Tuner, whose diving deflection left Chetri helpless. The lone goal by Sandeep Singh at the fag end of the match added only to the statisticians' notebook.

Heroic display

A heroic display under the bar by the 22-year old Antoni Kindler almost dismantled the medal pretensions of England. Incredibly undistinguished in the first half, all the wiles and guiles of the Englishmen were futile against the superbly organized Canadian defence headed by its goal-keeper.

What really inspired the Canadians was the lead that Iain Smythe secured. The spadework for this came from Sukhwinder Singh from the right. A perfect cross ended with Smythe deflecting the ball, notwithstanding the maze of legs in front of the goal.

Palpably desperate for the equalizer, England worked harder in the second. The pace was accelerated thanks to the quick runs by Ashley Jackson and Simon Tindell. The rival defenders erred now and then, but Antoni Kindler, who had played only four internationals before, stood like a solid bastion.

Simon Mantell eventually found the gap for the equalizer midway in the session to salvage England a point.

The results: Men: Pool A: Australia 5 (Desmond Abbott, Trent Mitton, Eddie Ocekenden, Liem de Young, Glen Turner) beat India 2 (Dharamvir Singt, Sandeep Singh).

Pool B: Canada 1 (Iain Smythe) drew England 1 (Simon Mantell).

Women: Pool A: Scotland 6 (Nikki Kidd 2, Alison Bell 2, Linda Clement, Holly Cram) beat Trinidad and Tobago 1 (Charlene Williams).

Pool B: Wales 2 (Leah Wilkinson, Claire Lowry) beat Malaysia 1 (Nadia Abdul Rehman).

Friday's matches: Men: Pool A: Malaysia v Scotland (8.30 p.m.); Pool B: South Africa v Trinidad and Tobago (6.30 p.m.);

Women: Pool A: South Africa v Australia (8.30 a.m.); India v Trinidad and Tobago (1.30 p.m.); Pool B: New Zealand v England (10.30 a.m.); Wales v Canada (3.30 p.m.).

Keywords: CWG 2010

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