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India beat Australia 4-3 in third hockey test


With 54 seconds to go for the final hooter, experienced forward Akashdeep Singh collected a sharp pass from Mandeep Singh and converted it into a goal, handing the Indian men’s hockey team their first victory over powerhouse Australia after six years. Wednesday’s 4-3 victory at the Mate Stadium in Adelaide keeps alive the five-match Test series after the hosts won the first two games 5-4 and 7-4 at the weekend.

This is India’s first win in regulation time after 14 matches against the world No 1 team, the previous one having come in a two-Test series in Bendigo on November 29, 2016. Out of those 14 games, India lost 12 with one drawn. The only time India ‘beat’ Australia was in the Pro League in February 2020 when the hosts came out on top 2-2 (3-1) via a penalty shootout in Bhubaneswar. Pro League rules though state that equal scores in regulation time is a draw with the shootout winner earning a bonus point.

India skipper Harmanpreet Singh (12th) drew first blood with his fourth goal of the series, converting a penalty corner. Abhishek (47th) and Shamsher Singh (57th) chipped in with a goal each before the winner by Akashdeep, who also scored a hat-trick in the first game. For Australia, Jack Welch (25th), co-captain Aran Zalewski (32nd) and Nathan Ephraums (59th) scored.

“It was a better defensive effort today. We put up a goodfight back on a couple of occasions. While our PC conversion rate was good, we probably still gave them too many opportunities and relied a little bit too much on our goalkeeper,” said India’s Australian chief coach Graham Reid. “Having said that, sometimes it is good to graft out a win and that’s what the team did today. We fought hard and it was a good character-building game for us ahead of the World Cup in January.”

The Kookaburras were dealt a blow when the series’ leading scorer Blake Govers (5) suffered a calf injury during the match.

Sreejesh’s ‘vicious act’

After the match, the teams had ‘exhibition shootouts’ during which India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh tackled Australia’s Ky Willott during an attempt, leading to injury. Coach Colin Batch said: “I don’t think it is serious. It’s a vicious act. FIH and regulations need to do something about it when a player deliberately takes someone out and injures them, so potentially we lose another player for the weekend.”

The last two games will be played on Saturday and Sunday.



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