A late goal by drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh in the 56th minute helped India overcome a 0-1 deficit to draw 1-1 against Australia ‘A’ in a well-contested match in Perth on Monday.Also Read - Present Hockey Team is Fittest to Leave Shores of India: Maneyapanda Muthanna Somaya
Earlier in the friendly tourney, India had registered a 2-0 win over Western Australia Thundersticks before beating Australia ‘A’ 3-0. Also Read - Ten Olympic Debutants in Indian Men's Hockey Squad For Tokyo Games
India made two good saves in the initial minutes of the opening quarter while defending back-to-back penalty corners awarded to Australia ‘A’, which somewhat made up for an average start by the visitors as the hosts put them under pressure right from the start. Also Read - Time to Replicate Asia Success in Big Events, Says Savita Punia
While the first quarter ended in a stalemate, the visitors suffered a setback in the 21st minute when Kiran Arunasalam struck a fine field goal for Australia ‘A’.
“We had a poor start in the first 10 minutes of the game which was complete opposite to how we played on Friday,” said India’s chief coach Graham Reid.
“We slowly got back into the game in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters and also created enough opportunities to win the match,” Reid said.
However, not being able to convert the chances created in the striking circle and missing out on three penalty corners dented India’s fightback.
India’s defence, on the other hand, was able to contain the home team from taking a further lead as it denied Australia ‘A’ from converting two penalty corners awarded to them in the second and third quarter, respectively.
India restored parity in the 56th minute when Harmanpreet Singh sounded the board with a well-timed, powerful dragflick. Just a minute earlier, his attempt at goal was saved nicely by an Australian defender.
On Wednesday, India will take on the Australian national side in what promises to be yet another exciting game. However, Read said that if India wished to emerge on top, they will need to start much better and keep the pressure on their opponents through the four quarters.
“We will need to start much better and play well in all the four quarters. In tomorrow’s practice session, we will be working on our connections, especially in the midfield,” the chief coach said.