Hockey: Indian women go down fighting 2-4 against Australia in opening test

Adelaide, May 18 (IANS) The Indian women’s hockey fought back from a two-goal deficit and reduced the margin through Sangita Kumari but Australia scored two more goals in the second half to emerge 4-2 winner in the opening match of the four-match bilateral test series here on Thursday.

Australis scored through Aisling Utri (20th), Maddy Fitzpatrick (26th), Alice Arnott (31st) and Courtney Schonell (34th) while Sangita Kumari (28th) and Sharmila Devi (38th) scored for India in the first match of the series.

Australia got into their passing rhythm quickly and dominated India in the first quarter by keeping most of the possession and testing the visitors’ defence numerous times. The hosts also won three penalty corners in the opening quarter of the game but failed to capitalise on those opportunities as the Indian team’s captain and goalkeeper Savita along with the defence stood strong to deny Australia from taking the lead.

However, in the second quarter, Australia netted two goals courtesy of their high tempo and attacking game. Aisling Utri (21′) scored a field goal after Courtney Schonell and Abigail Wilson combined well before the latter put in a cross across the goal for Utri to put the ball in India’s goal. Moments later, Maddy Fitzpatrick (27′) doubled the lead for the hosts as she converted a penalty corner.

Notably, India started playing aggressively after conceding the second goal and it paid off as Sangita Kumari (29′) found the back of the net after Nikki Pradhan’s shot from distance took a deflection off Fitzpatrick and Sangita found herself a perfect position to put the ball beyond Australia’s goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram. The hosts went into the half-time break with a 2-1 lead.

The third quarter of the match started with Australia scoring a quick goal through Alice Arnott (32′), while Courtney Schonell (35′) netted the fourth goal for the hosts. However, India didn’t take much time to respond as forward Sharmila Devi (40′) converted a penalty corner as the third quarter came to a close 4-2 in favour of Australia.

The fourth and last quarter of the match ended goalless even though both the teams came close to scoring a few times.

–IANS

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