Indian men's hockey team goes down 1-3 against Australia in fourth match of test series

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Perth, April 12 (IANS) The Indian men's hockey team continued to flounder, going down 1-3 against Australia in their fourth game of the five-match bilateral test series here, organised as preparation for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games. The Indian team went ahead in the 12th minute when captain Harmanpreet Singh netted a goal, but Australia came roaring back to score through Jeremy Hayward (19’, 47’) and Jack Welch (54’) to secure victory.

Australia have won the first three matches with scores of 5-1, 4-2 and 2-1 as they continued their domination of India.

The Indian team started the match with a strong attacking approach. In the opening minute, Mandeep Singh left unmarked in the D area, unleashed a powerful shot towards the goal, only to be denied by Australia's goalkeeper, Andrew Charter.

The hosts, however, didn't lag in offensive play, earning two consecutive penalty corners which they couldn't convert.

Despite Australia's pressure, India managed to secure multiple penalty corners themselves. Just before the first quarter ended, Harmanpreet Singh (12’) capitalised on one of these opportunities, firing the ball with precision and power into the net, granting India a 1-0 lead.

With an aim to bounce back in the game, Australia came out all guns blazing in the second quarter and also won two quick penalty corners, and they were able to capitalise on the second one when Jeremy Hayward (19’) expertly placed the ball into the net.

The match continued with intense back-and-forth action, yet neither team managed to find the back of the net again in the quarter. As the halftime whistle blew, the score stood at 1-1, setting the stage for an exciting second half.

India kicked off the third quarter with an aggressive approach, earning an early penalty corner which unfortunately didn't translate into a goal. On the other hand, Australia prioritized ball retention and utilized quick passes to navigate past India's defense.

Despite India adopting a counter-attacking strategy to keep the pressure on the hosts, neither team managed to break the deadlock in the third quarter. The penultimate quarter concluded with the score tied at 1-1.

The final quarter commenced with Australia asserting dominance, swiftly entering the circle and earning consecutive penalty corners. Jeremy Hayward (47’) once again showcased his prowess by converting one, giving his team the lead. Despite India's efforts, including a near-miss for an equalizer shortly after conceding, they couldn't breach Australia's goalkeeper.

Meanwhile, the hosts extended their advantage with Jack Welch (54’) finding the net from a penalty corner, making it 3-1 in Australia's favour. Despite India's late surge, securing three consecutive penalty corners, they couldn't convert any, resulting in a 3-1 victory for Australia as the referee blew the full-time whistle.

Indian men’s hockey team will take on Australia in their fifth and last game of the tour on Saturday.