The Indian men’s hockey team registered a comfortable 3-0 win against Australia A in their on-going Australia Tour in Perth on Friday.
Sumit Kumar Junior (12’, 13’) and drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh (6’), who is making a comeback after nearly eight-months of layoff due to injury, were the goal scorers
In their first assignment under new coach Graham Reid, this is India’s second straight win in Australia.
The visitors displayed aggression in their attack as they dominated the first quarter with ball possession and constantly looked to break into the striking circle. The tactic worked as three goals were scored in the very first quarter putting the home team on the back-foot.
India’s first goal came in the sixth minute when the team won their first penalty corner of the match. Experienced drag-flicker Rupinder timed the flick well with good power and speed to send it past the Australia A goalkeeper.
Defender Harmanpreet Singh’s skillful tackling saw Australia A lose ball possession which led to India’s second goal. It was a fine assist by skipper Manpreet Singh to Kumar Junior who converted a superb field goal in the 12th minute. The home team were left stunned when India converted their third goal in the 13th minute when striker Akashdeep Singh set-up the goal scored by Kumar Junior, who had played an impressive role in India’s attack at the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year.
With a formidable 3-0 lead in the first quarter, India did well in terms of stitching together a good defence to hold off the Australian attack. Harmanpreet remained the cornerstone of the Indian defence as he dispossessed the Australians on several occasions to break their rhythm.
Australia’s lone goal-scoring opportunity came in the second quarter when they created a penalty corner but India goalkeeper Krishan Pathak was up to the task and made a good save. The following two quarters saw India defend their scoreline with solid defence that ensured they secured a second successive win on the tour.
Speaking about the win on Friday, Reid said, “It was a very good first quarter with the basics right. We needed that first game [against Western Australia Thundersticks] to get used to the pitch. After a 3-0 lead, it was important we stayed focused on the process. The second and third quarter was tighter. I was happy with the things we have been working on, we created a lot of opportunities and I believe we can still do better in our finishing.”
India will play their next game on 13 May and will look to continue their fine run in the tour. “The next game will be harder and we are looking forward to it. The team will be stronger from today’s match which had about seven national players from the Australian senior team. But it’s a good progression,” Reid added.