The Indian men’s hockey team eked out a 1-1 draw against the New Zealand Black Sticks in the final hockey Test to pocket the four-match series 2-1 in Christchurch on Sunday.
After a goalless opening two quarters, Nick Ross broke the deadlock for New Zealand in the 41st minute. But the hosts’ joy was shortlived as India equalised two minutes later through a field goal from SV Sunil.
The first quarter of the game witnessed a series of attacks from the Indians, who dominated the entire session. Without wasting much time, skipper Sardar Singh broke into the hosts defence from the right flank but his attack was stopped by New Zealand’s Alex Shaw.
In the 11th minute, India was awarded a penalty corner but Rupinder Pal Singh’s effort went off the target. New Zealand then put some pressure on the Indian defence with a long pass from Blair Tarrant, which found Nic Woods in a goal scoring position but his effort was denied by an alert Indian defence.
The dying moments of the first quarter saw Akashdeep Singh get a chance to open the account but his attempt went wide of the post.
In the second quarter, the Black Sticks dominated the early part with an attack from the left side of the pitch which earned them a penalty corner, but Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh made a good save. This was followed by a counter-attack from India but an unmarked Dharamvir Singh’s try was blocked by New Zealand goalkeeper.
Akashdeep Singh then pierced through the New Zealand defence but his attempt was thwarted as both the teams failed to open their account at the halfway break.
After the change of ends, both sides tried hard to break the deadlock but could not find a way through.
Finally in the 41st minute, the game witnessed its first goal frrom the stick of Ross, who collected a pass from Steve Edwards and calmly finished off the move to give New Zealand a 1-0 lead.
India replied back immediately in the 43rd minute with a goal from Sunil to draw level.
The last quarter started with equal zeal as New Zealand got a great chance to take the lead in the early minutes with Simon Child running into the Indian defence but a vigilant Indian defence blocked the attack without any damage.
Riding on a series of attacks, New Zealand earned a penalty corner in the 54th minute but Sreejesh dived to his left to make a brilliant save.