The Indian men’s hockey team bounced back strongly to defeat the Black Sticks 3-1 in the second Test in Christchurch on Wednesday to level the four-match series 1-1 in their ongoing tour to New Zealand.
Unlike the series opener, which they lost 0-2, the Indians lifted their game by leaps and bounds and displayed attacking hockey from the onset. The visitors went on the attack right from the start and earned a penalty corner in the 10th minute, but the Indians wasted the opportunity.
India, however, opened their account in the 13th minute through Ramandeep Singh, who scored from a rebound following a cross from Birendra Lakra. India continued their attacking game in the second quarter but Dharamvir Singh’s brilliant try was blocked by an alert New Zealand goalkeeper.
New Zealand, on the other hand, depended mainly on counter attacks but failed to break the agile Indian defence. In the 23rd minute, New Zealand were awarded a penalty corner but Indian custodian PR Sreejesh made a brilliant save to deny the Black Sticks.
With no goals coming in the second quarter, India went into the half-time break leading 1-0.
After the change of ends, an unmarked Gurjinder Singh had a great chance to double India’s lead, but he deflected the ball wide of the post. New Zealand immediately counter attacked and won a penalty corner in the 35th minute, but Sreejesh again stood tall, leaving the hosts frustrated.
New Zealand kept up the pressure and managed to equalise terms just before the end of the third quarter through Kane Russell (45th minute), who converted a penalty corner.
Locked at 1-1, both sides tried to take the early lead in the fourth and final quarter.
India intensified their attack on the Kiwis and their efforts paid off in the 52nd minute when Manpreet Singh sent an accurate pass to Lalit Updhyay, who calmly finished off the move to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. India sealed the match in the final minute when Nikkin Thimmaiah scored the third goal.
India will now face the Kiwis in the third Test match of the series in Christchurch on Friday, October 9.