The Indian men’s hockey team came close to grabbing a historic sweep of world No 1 Australia in the Two-Test series that was being played in Bendigo, but despite a double from captain VR Raghunath, Indian men’s hockey team lost 4-3 to Australia and the two match test series concluded in a draw (1-1) on Wednesday. Jez Hayward scored two amazing goals in the second half which not only brought back Australia into the game but also gave them the advantage.
The 21-year-old Indian striker Akashdeep Singh opened the scoring and gave India an early lead in the sixth minute through a field goal. However, Australia didn’t wait for long to reply and in 13th minute Trent Mitton netted an equaliser, to level the score-line in the first quarter.
Both teams were occupied in some tense hockey, as evident by back-to-back goals in under a minute. In the 22nd minute, it was Raghunath who put India ahead with a fine penalty corner strike, and just a minute after Jake Whetty equalised the score by making it 2-2 in the 23rd.
Penalty specialist Raghunath found the back of the net again in the 25th minute, powering India to a 3-2 lead at half-time, but Indian once again failed to hold onto the lead and Hayward got the Kookaburras back into the game with a penalty corner in the 38th minute, and the third quarter ended with the scores level 3-3. Following it, the 23-year-old defender struck another in the 54th minute to trouble the Indians further in the fourth quarter and it proved to be the last goal of the match as India couldn’t manage to score a single goal in the second-half despite many attempts and the game ended in favour of Australia with final score of 4-3.
Despite a loss, Indian men’s hockey team would be happy with the result as the squad was missing regular captain and talismanic goalkeeper PR Sreejesh along with senior strikers SV Sunil and Ramandeep Singh. In the absence of these players also, Indian team played well and the final score is evidence of this fact.