Hockey

India Vs Australia, 4th Hockey Test: Harmanpreet's Goal Fails To Avert Fourth Loss In Row

Jeremy Hayward scored in the 19th and 47th minutes, and Jack Welch struck in the 54th to hand Australia their fourth consecutive win in the five-match hockey series. India took the lead in the 12th minute through captain Harmanpreet Singh

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Captain Harmanpreet Singh celebrates his goal with teammates during the fourth India vs Australia hockey Test in Perth on April 12, 2024. Photo: Hockey India
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India continued their dismal show in the crucial tour Down Under, losing 1-3 against Australia to suffer their fourth consecutive defeat in the five-match men's hockey Test series, in Perth on Friday. (More Hockey News)

Contrary to the final result, it was a much-improved performance from the Indians but the Kookaburras were simply too strong. All the four goals in the match, which started 40 minutes late due to lightning, came from penalty corners.

India took the lead in the 12th minute through skipper Harmanpreet Singh but Jeremy Hayward's (19th, 47th) brace and Jack Welch (54th) strike handed Australia yet another win in the series.

India were decimated 1-5 in the opening Test, while they lost the second and third Tests 2-4 and 1-2 respectively. It was an entertaining first quarter with both the teams matching each other.

India had the first shy at the goal in the opening minute through Mandeep Singh, whose hit from the top of the circle off skipper Harmanpreet's Singh's pass from the deep was saved by an alert Australian keeper.

The Kookaburras were not to be left behind as they secured back-to-back penalty corners in the second minute but veteran India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh was superb under the bar, making twin saves to deny their opponents.

Unlike the previous three games where they relied more on aerial long passes to penetrate the Australian defence, the Indians used the midfield smartly, building their attacks with fine ball transfer.

It worked well as India secured their first penalty corner in the 10th minute but Jugraj Singh failed to convert the chance. A minute later, Australia earned their third penalty corner, followed by another but the Indians defended stoutly.

India took the lead in the 12th minute when Harmanpreet converted their second penalty corner with a low and hard flick to the left of the goalkeeper. Down a goal, the Kookaburras put relentless pressure on the Indians and drew level in the 19th minute when Hayward converted their fifth penalty corner with a powerful flick.

Soon, Rajkumar Pal's reverse hit from the top of the circle hit the post for India. Minutes later, Australia secured their sixth penalty corner but reserve goalkeeper Suraj Karkera made a brilliant save to keep his side in the contest.

There was nothing to separate the two teams in the first half as both matched each other stick for stick. Minutes after the change of ends, India secured another penalty corner but Harmanpreet failed to breach the Australian defence.

Thereafter, it was a mid-field slugfest with both India and Australia seemingly in no mood to give an inch as the 1-1 deadlock continued. Two minutes into the final quarter, Australia earned back-to-back penalty corners, the second of which was converted by Hayward with another fierce low flick to the right of reserve keeper Karkera, who replaced Krishan Bahadur in the team.

The hosts kept up the pressure on the Indian goal and secured two more penalty corners in the next minute but couldn't utilise.

Six minutes later, Australia secured another penalty corner and this time Welch sounded the board.

India had their chances as well in the form of three penalty corners in the last four minutes but wasted the opportunities.

The final Test of the series will be played in Perth on Saturday.

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