Indian men's hockey team suffers 1-5 thrashing at hands of Australia in first Test

The Australians controlled the tempo of the match from start to finish. The Indian team showed some sparks in the final quarter but it was too late by then.

April 06, 2024 04:23 pm | Updated 04:23 pm IST - Perth

File photo of Indian men’s hockey team.

File photo of Indian men’s hockey team. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Indian men's hockey was expected to put up at least a decent fight but was hammered 1-5 by Australia in the first Test of the five-match series in Perth on April 6.

The Australians controlled the tempo of the match from start to finish. The Indian team showed some sparks in the final quarter but it was too late by then.

Tom Wickham (20th, 38th minute) scored a brace, while Tim Brand (3rd), Joel Rintala (37th) and Flynn Ogilvie (57th) were the other goal-getters for the winners.

India's lone goal was scored by Gurjant Singh in the 47th minute.

The Kookaburras showed positive intent from the start and took the lead as early as the third minute through Brand, who shocked India early with brilliant individual skills from the left flank.

He received a long pass from the deep and outfooted Jarmanpreet Singh with his stick work and pushed the ball past veteran India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.

Australia continued to press hard on the Indian defence and secured their first penalty corner in the eighth minute but could not breach Sreejesh's defence this time.

Sreejesh made a reflex save with his extended right leg to deny Joel Rintala.

A minute later, an alert Sreejesh used his razor-sharp reflexes to again keep Rintala out of target from Australia's second penalty corner.

India secured their first penalty corner in the 10th minute but failed to utilise the chance.

Soon, Jake Whetton's reverse shot was parried away by Sreejesh.

Australia was at their attacking best as their moves outwitted the Indian defence.

The home team increased its lead just five minutes into the second quarter through Wickham, courtesy some sloppy defending by the Indians.

Australia denied India to settle into a rhythm with their attacking hockey and relentless pressure to go into the halfway break with a 2-0 cushion.

The hosts continued in the same vein after the change of ends as Rintala was in the right place at the right time to get a neat deflection off Ky Willott's reverse hit seven minutes into the third quarter.

The Indian defence was caught napping by the ever-attacking Australians as Wickham scored his second of the day with a fierce shot from the right corner past Sreejesh's extended right foot.

Down by four goals, the Indians showed urgency thereafter but lacked ideas as they failed to create clear cut chances from field play.

Twice in the third quarter India came close to registering goals but on both occasion Australia goalkeeper Andrew Charter easily kept the rivals at bay.

Australia continued to play high-press hockey and secured another penalty corner just at the start of fourth quarter but failed to cash in on the opportunity.

In turn, the Indians made quick counter-attack and reduced the margin through Gurjant, who scored with powerful strike from the top of the D after receiving an inch-perfect pass from Mohammed Raheel. India made some terrific incisive moves through the mid-field to expose Australian defence in fourth quarter but failed to create any scoring chances as the Australian defence stood tall.

The Indians earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 51st minute, but on both occasion skipper Harmanpreet Singh failed to get past Charter in front of Australian goal. Australia secured another penalty corner three minutes from the final hooter. Jeremy Hayward's initial flick was saved by second Indian goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak but Ogilvie sounded the board from the rebound to register the comfortable win for the hosts.

The two teams will meet again on Sunday in the second Test of the Perth International Festival of Hockey, considered as a preparation for the upcoming Paris Olympics.

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