India beat SA, seal series before the real test begins | india | Hindustan Times
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India beat SA, seal series before the real test begins

india Updated: Jan 20, 2012 23:00 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times
Navneet Singh

India defeated South Africa 4-3 in the fourth Test on Friday at the National Stadium, to lead the five-match series 3-1. But the score-line in the matches played so far hasn't been convincing enough to warm the hearts of the hockey fans, waiting anxiously to see India qualify for the London Olympics.

Almost all the players tested in the series so far have been far from convincing, which has allowed the rivals to come back into the game. It was the same old story on Friday.

Slow start
The hosts looked rusty in the first 35 minutes, though they were able to slot home four goals in the second half despite some erratic play.

Admitting that the players made more mistakes in Friday's match compared with the three previous encounters, coach Michael Nobbs hoped everything would be fixed once he had a smaller group of 22 players to train.

"The basics problem, like trapping and anticipation, would be sorted out in coming days. We didn't have quality time to go through specific drills in the run up to the series," the coach said.

Nobbs promised that laying emphasis on fundamentals wouldn't distract the squad from its main aim of winning the Olympic Qualification tournament in February.

"We are taking one step at a time."

Tomorrow is a rest day. The final of the series will be played on Sunday. It will be the last opportunity for Nobbs to test the strengths of his players and give final shape to his game plan.

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