Late strike helps India draw with Kiwis

India made a smart recovery after conceding an early goal to hold New Zealand 1-1 in the first of the four-Test hockey series at the National Stadium...

Written by Press Trust Of India | Wellington | Published:February 22, 2009 11:36 pm

India made a smart recovery after conceding an early goal to hold New Zealand 1-1 in the first of the four-Test hockey series at the National Stadium on Saturday.

The visitors were jolted as early as in the third minute as New Zealand captain Phil Burrows out the hosts ahead. However,a change of tactics in the second session yielded India the equaliser in the 55th minute through SV Sunil.

The Kiwis,who lost both their matches to India in the Punjab Gold Cup in Chandigarh earlier this month,dominated the first half but India switched to short passes instead of hard-hitting into the circle.

This caught up the Black Sticks unawares and,coupled with some solid defending by the Indians,the home side were forced to commit mistakes.

India missed three chances to equalise as forwards Rajpal Singh,SV Sunil and Shivendra Singh were off target. Sunil,though,made amends 15 minutes from the final hooter and slotted home from close range past goalkeeper Stephen Graham after a set up by Arjun Halappa.

Earlier,India started brightly forcing a penalty corner in the first minute. Captain Sandeep Singh’s flick was well saved by Graham. The Black Sticks took control thereafter with midfield forays.

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