A young Indian side put up a spirited fight before going down 3—4 to six-time champions Australia in the opening encounter of the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament here today.
India, who have fielded a second string side did challenge their superior opponents but conceding two goals within two minutes of the second half became the turning point of the game.
For Australia, Matt Gohdes scored in 24th and 39th minute while Glenn Simpson (39th minute) and Trent Milton (53rd) were the other scorers.
Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh converted both the penalty corners in the 40th and 68th minute while Malak Singh scored a brilliant field goal from an acute angle in the 51st minute.
The winners lead 1—0 at the break.
Australia took control of the game within the first 10 minutes during which Indian goalkeeper P Sreejesh effected a couple of smart saves when Tim Bates took a few of shots.
However, the Indian defence finally caved in the 24th minute when the Aussies got their first penalty corner.
While Sreejesh saved the hit, Gohdes who had pushed the ball, snapped it hard from the rebound to give his team a 1—0 lead.
The Aussies started with a bang in the second half as they got two goals within two minutes. First it was a penalty corner, which Glenn Simpson converted with the Indian defence being sold a dummy by one of the Australian players standing in the opposition striking circle.
Before the Indians could get their acts together, it became 3—0 as Gohdesh got his second goal in the 39th minute.
In the 41st minute, India managed to get their first short corner which Rupinder Pal converted. His drag flick was a powerful one which didn’t give the Aussie defence a chance.