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Indian men's hockey team loses 2-3 to Australia in thrilling last match of test series

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Perth, April 13 (IANS) Harmanpreet Singh and Boby Singh Dhami scored a goal each, but the Indian men's hockey team went down 2-3 to Australia in a tightly contested fifth and final test match, suffering a 5-0 thrashing in the bilateral test series.

Harmanpreet put India ahead in the fourth minute of the match and Boby Singh reduced the margin in the 53rd minute after Jeremy Hayward (20’), Ky Willott (38’), and Tim Brand (39’) scored the goals for the hosts.

In the first quarter, India kicked off with a focused approach to maintaining ball possession and setting the tempo of the game. This tactic enabled them to breach Australia's defence multiple times, earning consecutive penalty corners. Captain Harmanpreet Singh (4’) capitalised on the second chance, expertly slotting in a grounded shot with precision and pace.

With the scoreboard in their favour, India intensified their offensive pressure, consistently testing Australia's defence and it eventually helped the visitors maintain their 1-0 lead by the conclusion of the first quarter.

At the beginning of the second quarter, India adopted an assertive stance aiming to widen their lead and maintain dominance over Australia. Nevertheless, the home team managed to secure a penalty corner against the run of play, capitalizing on it through their in-form player, Jeremy Hayward (20’), who netted the equalizer.

Following the levelling of the score, Australia intensified their offensive efforts, consistently pressing India and nearly scoring on multiple occasions. Despite the heightened intensity, no further goals were scored in the quarter, leaving the teams tied at 1-1 as the halftime whistle blew.

In the third quarter, the Indian team initiated a vigorous offensive strategy. Abhishek found himself in a promising position within the D area, with only the keeper to beat, but unfortunately, he couldn't execute his shot effectively, squandering the opportunity.

Meanwhile, Australia capitalised on their counterattacking chances, with Ky Willott (38’) and Tim Brand (39’) netting field goals within a minute of each other. This flurry of goals propelled the hosts to a comfortable 3-1 lead as the penultimate quarter concluded.

In their quest to mount a comeback, India ramped up their intensity against Australia, applying relentless pressure and executing quick passes. Their efforts bore fruit when Boby Singh Dhami (53’) calmly slotted in his first international goal, reducing India's deficit to just one goal.

This strike injected confidence into the Indian side, fuelling hopes of a turnaround in the match. However, despite the visitors’ determined efforts, Australia succeeded in preventing India from levelling the score, ultimately securing a thrilling 3-2 victory in the match.

--IANS

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