Saturday, November 8, 2014

3rd Hockey Test: India pull off another stunning win over Australia



This piece was published in Sportskeeda
The Indian men’s hockey team were soaring in confidence after their famous, eyeballs-grabbing 2-1 win over world champions Australia in the third Test at the Perth Hockey Stadium in Perth. And on Saturday, the Terry Walsh-coached Indians seemed to be teeming with confidence from that ‘monumental win’ as they looked to control possession without getting overawed by the reputation of the world number side one.

The opening half witnessed fast-paced hockey with both teams appearing threatening on the counter-attacks, but the defence of two teams held it out to ensure the scoreline was goalless at half-time. India were led by Rupinder Pal Singh, who played his 100th international, in the absence of regular captain Sardar Singh.

SV Sunil fresh from his stunning match-winner in the third Test, seemed to have hit a purple patch as he made the Aussie defence sweat with his blistering runs upfront. It was left to the Coorg lad to put India early in the third quarter when he worked his way on the left and essayed a pass to Akashdeep Singh, whose return pass was tapped home by Sunil beating Aussie goalie Andrew Charter all ends up.

Australia did not help their cause when they were soon reduced to ten men when Eddie Ockenden was given the temporary marching orders for a unfair tackle on Manpreet Singh. The Kookaburras forced their first penalty corner – the first of the game but the Indian defence did well to nullify that attempt.

The home side needed to summon desperate measures going into the final quarter, but they struggled to penetrate the Indian defence, which stood out with aplomb. India wasted three consecutive penalty corners in the closing stages of the final quarter, but did enough to pull off a solitary goal win over the world champions. The fourth and final Test will be played on Sunday.

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