Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Riding on Sumit Kumar’s brace, India overpowered Australia ‘A’ 3-0 in their second hockey match of the on-going Australia Tour In Perth on Friday.
Sumit Kumar Junior scored two quick goals in 12′, 13 minutes while drag-flicker Rupinder Pal gave the visitors the lead in the 6th minute.
Playing an attacking game, India dominated the first quarter with ball possession and constantly looked to break into the striking circle and scored all the three goals in this period.
The visitors surged ahead in the in the 6th minute when experienced drag-flicker Rupinder , making a comeback after nearly eight-months of layoff due to injury. converted the first penalty corner..
Defender Harmanpreet ‘s skillful tackling saw Australia ‘A’ lose ball possession which led to India’s second goal. It was a fine assist by Skipper Manpreet to Sumit ( Junior) who converted a superb field goal in the 12th minute.
The home team were left stunned when India converted their third goal in the 13th minute when striker Akashdeep Singh set-up the goal scored by Sumit Kumar Junior, who had played an impressive role in India’s attack at the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year.
With a formidable 3-0 lead in the first quarter, India did well in terms of stitching together good defence to hold off the Australian attack. Harmanpreet foiled Australian attackers on several occasions that broke their rhythm.
Australia’s lone goal-scoring opportunity came in the second quarter when they created a PC but India goalkeeper Krishan Pathak was up to the task to make a good save. The following two quarter saw India defend their score-line with solid defence that ensured they secured a second successive win on the tour.
Talking about the win Chief Coach Graham Reid said, “It was a very good first quarter with the basics right. We needed that first game (against Western Australia Thundersticks) to get used to the pitch. After a 3-0 lead, it was important we stayed focused on the process. The second and third quarter was tighter. I was happy with the things we have been working on, we created a lot of opportunities and I believe we can still do better in our finishing.”
“The next game will be harder and we are looking forward to it. The team will be stronger from today’s which had about seven national players from Australian senior team. But it’s a good progression,” Reid added.