India failed to qualify for the final of the Lanco International Super Series hockey tournament after losing 3-4 to Australia in a hard-fought encounter in Perth on Friday.
The defeat against Australia was India’s second straight loss in the tournament after going down 1-2 to England in their tournament opener on Thursday.
India opened the scoring through skipper Sardar Singh, but their lead was short-lived as Boyne equalised for Australia within seconds.
India matched their rivals in all departments of the game in the opening half with goalkeeper P R Sreejesh putting up a splendid show under the bar.
However, just a minute before the break Australia surged ahead through Boyne’s second goal of the day before Danish Mujtaba drew parity for India just at the stroke of half time.
The Kookaburras came out strongly after the lemon break and wasted no time in restoring their lead through Whitton’s goal.
The match witnessed a see-saw battle between the two sides as India once again levelled the scores through a superb left-hand flick by Gurvinder Singh Chandi.
Australia could have surged ahead soon if not for a brilliant Indian custodian Sreejesh, who saved a one-to-one penalty shoot-out.
However, Australia had the last laugh as Trent Mitton scored from nowhere from the right flank five minutes before the hooter to ensure the home team’s second straight win.
India next play arch-rivals Pakistan on Saturday in an inconsequential round-robin match of the improvised nine-a-side format of the game, better known as Hockey 9s at the Perth Hockey Stadium in Bentley.
The two Asian sides will again lock horns on Sunday in the third-fourth place play-off match after Pakistan lost their second match in the tournament, a 2-4 defeat at the hands of England.