India squander lead thrice to go down 3-4 to Australia, series level at 1-1

Akashdeep Singh and VR Raghunath were the goalscorers for India in a high scoring contest.

By: PTI | Updated: November 30, 2016 5:29 pm
India hockey, India vs Australia, Ind vs Aus hockey, India Australia hockey series, VR Raghunath, Akashdeep Singh, hockey news, sports news VR Raghunath scored a brace for India in the second game of the series. (Source: AP File)

VR Raghunath’s twin strike went in vain as Indian men’s hockey team went down to Australia 3-4 in the second and final game to draw the two-match series 1-1 on Wednesday.

Akashdeep Singh (6th minute) and Raghunath (22nd, 25th) scored for the visitors, while Australia’s goals came from the sticks of Tent Mitton (13th) Jake Whetton (23rd) and Jeremy Hayward (38th, 54th).

Playing with 10 men for large periods of the third quarter, India defended stoutly but were finally outsmarted by
Australia just six minutes from the hooter.

The visitors were the first to sound the board with Akashdeep scoring in the sixth minute to give India the lead.

The home team settled into the game as the period went on and two minutes from the quarter Australia drew level through Mitton’s strike.

In the action-packed second quarter, captain Raghunath gave India the lead from a superbly executed penalty corner in the 22nd minute.

But India’s joy was shortlived as Australia equalised through a penalty corner conversion by Whetton in the 23rd
minute.

India had the final say in before half time when Raghunath converted another penalty corner goal to give his side the lead going into the break.

In an ill-tempered third quarter that saw four yellow cards — three to Indian players, Australia wrested back the
control, scoring an equaliser via a Hayward penalty corner conversion in the 38th minute.

India were down by a player for long passages of play in the quarter and were even stuck with nine on the field for a
while with Nikkin Thimmaiah and Pardeep Mor both on yellow cards serving suspensions.

The teams went into the final break level at 3-3.

Australia were the stronger side in the final period and their constant raids bore fruit when Hayward scored his second off a set piece in the 54th minute to give his side the decisive lead.

India had earlier defeated Australia 3-2 in the first match of the series on Tuesday.