October 10, 2009 10:22:05 am
A dominant India scored in each half to blank Canada 2-0 in the opening game of their seven-match hockey Test series at the University of Victoria Ground.
Tushar Khandker struck in the 27th minute while Sandeep Singh sank home a penalty corner in the 66th minute to give India the opening win on Friday.
India took time settling down in cold conditions under lights and were distinctly fortunate in not conceding the lead to Canada in the opening minutes.
Goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza first warded off a reverse from winger Gabbar Singh and followed up with a spectacular save off Taylor Curran’s effort.
Indian forwards missed a few chances midway in the first session with forwards Rajpal Singh,Prabhjot Singh and Gurwinder Chandi shooting wide.
But the Indian deep defence was marshalled majestically by Sardar Singh whose clean tackling and interceptions were lustily applauded by the houseful crowd.
He was ably supported by midfielders Gurbaj Singh and Dhananjay Mahadik who constantly set up the flankmen and other forwards.
India took the lead in the 27th minute when Rajpal Singh put through diminutive Bharat Chikara whose clever run down and pass atop the striking circle to the unmarked Tushar Khandker had no answer from Canadian goalkeeper David Carter.
India dominated most of the second half and should have increased their tally soon but Chandi sent a backhander over the crosspiece and Rajpal failed to connect a Vikram Pillay cross immediately thereafter.
Canada came close to scoring an equaliser on a couple of occasions but attempts from Connor Meakin and Gabbar Singh were foiled by an alert Indian defence.
They also earned two penalty corners,one of which was saved by D’Souza,while the other was flicked over. Sandeep Singh settled the issue for India after he fired home from their only penalty corner in the 66th minute to give the visitors victory.
The second Test between the two sides would be played here on Sunday.
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