India lost to Australia 5-4 in the high-scoring first hockey Test of the five-match series on Saturday in Adelaide after Akashdeep Singh's hat-trick was cancelled out by two last-gasp penalty corners goals by Blaker Govers.
Akashdeep Singh (10th, 27th, 59th) scored thrice, making the most of his return, while skipper Harmanpreet Singh (31st) converted a penalty corner for India. Australia's goals were scored by Lachlan Sharp (5th), Nathan Ephraums (21st), Tom Craig (41st) and Blake Govers (57th, 60th).
5' Australia 1-0 India
11' Australia 1-1 India
20' Australia 2-1 India
28' Australia 2-2 India
31' Australia 2-3 India
42' Australia 3-3 India
57' Australia 4-3 India
59' Australia 4-4 India
60' Australia 5-4 India
Unmatched entertainment, but India just fall short �� pic.twitter.com/EAw8X2JsRz
- ESPN India (@ESPNIndia) November 26, 2022
"It was a disappointing finish to what was probably a pretty good performance," India's Chief Coach Graham Reid said after the match. "We let ourselves down at certain stages specifically in two quarters but I think we came back well only to unfortunately hand it back to them (Australia) at the end. That's something we have to get better at now," he added.
Australia started on an attacking note and took the lead as early as in the fifth minute with Sharp slotting home past PR Sreejesh with his very first touch of the match. The Indians responded within minutes with Amit Rohidas creating a great move from the left flank but his ball was intercepted inside the circle by the Australian defence.
But Akashdeep equalised for India in the first quarter itself, after Hardik Singh made a wonderful interception to create the opportunity.
Six minutes into the second quarter, Australia restored their lead as India failed to clear a cross and Ephraums got a smart deflection to put the ball into the net. Akashdeep once again stepped up and scored with a terrific reverse hit in the 27th minute to level the scores.
Just at the stroke of half-time, Australia got a penalty corner but India's second goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak saved it.
Then a minute after the change of ends, Harmanpreet gave India the lead for the first time in the match, scoring from a penalty corner. The Indians then secured back-to-back penalty corners but wasted both.
In the 41st minute, Australia secured a penalty corner and Craig scored from a rebound after Sreejesh saved the initial drag-flick. The home team continued to press hard and got a a handful of penalty corners but Indians held strong.
However, India were sloppy in the last five minutes of the game as Jarmanpreet Singh got an unnecessary green card, leaving his side a man down for the rest of the game. Australia took full advantage of the situation and secured another penalty corner which was converted by Govers with a powerful flick.
Once again, Akashdeep levelled the scores a minute from the final hooter, scoring from a goalmouth melee after India went on the counter to get back the lead.
But poor defending from the Indians inside their own circle cost them as Australia earned two more penalty corners and Govers once again found the net in the literal last second with the second attempt to hand the home team a 1-0 lead in the series.
Schedule of remaining matches
November 26 - 11 AM IST
November 27 -11 AM IST
November 30 - 1.30 PM IST
December 3 -11 AM IST
December 4 -11 AM IST
In India, all the matches will be shown live on Star Sports First, Star Sports Select 1 (SD and HD). Live streaming will be available on Hotstar.
With PTI Inputs