The young Indian hockey team began its Asian Champions Trophy campaign in style as it spanked hosts China 5-0, displaying flashes of brilliance and dictating the pace of the game here Saturday.
In the first half, India led 2-0 with goals from Gurwinder Singh Chandi (5th) and Yuvraj Walmiki (21st). In the second half, India scored through Rupinder Pal Singh (41st), Rajpal Singh (43rd) and V Raghunath (62nd).
In an earlier match, the opener of the tournament, South Korea beat Japan 3-2 in a hard-fought contest.
It was a slow start for both the teams with China looking handicapped due to the absence of four of their best players missing the tournament with injuries.
They were defensive and the Indian forwards took advantage to score an early fifth-minute goal. It was a loose ball that Gurwinder Singh Chandi got hold of and slotted it past the bemused Chinese goalkeeper.
China surprisingly didn't go on the attack. They pulled back players and played with a lone forward upfront.
"I am happy for the boys as they needed a win to start off in this tournament," coach Michael Nobbs said after the match, carefully watching his players cooling off on the practice pitch.
"But make no mistake this team has to put in a lot of work. We have spent a lot of time over the last four weeks explaining certain things and I am glad a few of those worked."