Sandeep Singh continued his rampaging form to score twice as India beat Canada 3-1 to take an unassailable 4-0 lead in the seven-match hockey Test series at Tamanawis Park here.
Sandeep struck his goals in the 35th and 67th minutes after Gurwinder Chandi opened the scoring for India in the 29th minute. David Jameson pulled one back for Canada in the 41st minute.
Canada began aggressively winning a penalty corner when Mark Pearson was stick-fouled by Sandeep. However, Scott Tupper’s flick did not have the sting.
India, on the other hand, were cautious to start with and committed numerous unforced errors.
Forwards Prabhjot Singh, captain Rajpal Singh, Sarwanjit Singh and Gurwinder Chandi were off colour lacking fluency and messing up the traps.
Both teams earned two penalty corners in the first quarter but could not push the scoreline as Sandeep and Raghunath were off target for India while Wayne Fernandes’ flick was saved by India goalkeeper Adrian D’souza.
India opened their account with a sortie led by Sardar Singh who strode with great pace in the midfield to set up Prabhjot. The Batala veteran tapped to Chandi who beat Carter in the bars with a wrong foot shot in the 29th minute.
Chandi could have scored soon after but went too acute with his backhander, which went straight to Carter.
India’s second goal came at the stroke of half time when Prabhjot was obstructed by Adam Froese.
The resultant penalty corner was fired in by Sandeep. The second-half saw India excel in patches as Canada tried to reduce the margin.
Connor Grimes orchestrated the attack in the 41st minute but found his attempt blocked feebly by D’souza, enabling David Jameson to scoop the rebound into the cage. Canada got another penalty corner soon after but Tupper shot wide.
India increased their tally from another Sandeep flick three minutes from the end after Rajpal sent a long overhead deep on the right flank to unmarked Tushar Khandker.
Canada keeper Carter who charged out of the circle towards the sideline to stop Khandeker was penalised for a stick foul. Time ran out for Canada as they made two swift attempts to score thereafter.
First Pearson’s shot was well taken on the Indian goal line by Vikram Pillay followed by a lost penalty corner opportunity created by Gabbar Singh. India will now play the sixth Test here on Thursday.