Women's hockey: India go down 2-4 to Australia
A rusty Savita Punia-led outfit were completely outplayed by the Hockeyroos at the Mate Stadium.
Playing its first international in four months, a rusty Indian women’s hockey team succumbed to a 2-4 to world No.3 in the first of the three Test matches between the two sides in Adelaide on Thursday.
An out-of-form India never seized the initiative as the hosts controlled proceedings and dominated ball possession for most of the contest. From sluggish passes in defence to a lack of fluid movement between the midfield and forward line, the Savita Punia-led outfit were completely outplayed by the Hockeyroos at the Mate Stadium.
This was India’s fourth consecutive loss after also going down to world No.1 Netherlands in three successive games in Cape Town in January.
Forwards Sangita Kumari (29') and Sharmila Devi (40') scored a goal each for the visitors while Australia found the back of the net through Aisling Utri (21'), Maddy Fitzpatrick (27'), Alice Arnott (32') and Courtney Schonell (35').
Australia got into their passing rhythm quickly and tested India’s defence numerous times in the first quarter. The hosts also won three penalty corners (PC) but failed to capitalise as goalkeeper Savita along with the defence line stood strong to deny Australia taking the lead.
However, Australia netted two goals in the second quarter courtesy their high tempo and attacking game. Utri scored a field goal after Schonell and Wilson combined well before the latter put in a cross across the goal for Utri to put the ball in. Moments later, Fitzpatrick doubled the lead from a PC.
India played aggressively after conceding the second goal and it paid off as Sangita found the back of the net after Nikki Pradhan’s shot from distance took a deflection off Fitzpatrick and Sangita found herself in the perfect position to put the ball beyond Australia goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram.
The third quarter started with Australia scoring a quick goal through Arnott while Schonell (35’) netted the fourth goal for the hosts. Down 1-4, India pulled one back via Sharmila, who converted a short corner.
The last quarter was goal-less even though both teams came close to scoring a few times.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday.