India defeat New Zealand 3-1, level hockey Test series

New Delhi, Oct 7: Indian men's hockey bounced back strongly and defeated New Zealand 3-1 in the second Test in Christchurch to level the four-match series 1-1 in their ongoing tour to the Kiwi land.

Unlike the series opener which they lost 0-2, the Indians lifted their game by leaps and bounds and displayed attacking hockey from the onset.

File picture: Indian players in action against New Zealand A recently

India went on the attack right from the start and earned a penalty corner in the 10th minute but the visitors wasted the opportunity. India, however, opened their account in the 13th minute through Ramandeep Singh, who scored from a rebound following a cross from Birendra Lakra.

India continued their attacking game in the second quarter but Dharamvir Singh's brilliant try was blocked by an alert New Zealand goalkeeper. New Zealand, on the other hand, depended mainly on counter attacks but failed to break the agile Indian defence.

In the 23rd minute New Zealand were awarded a penalty corner but Indian custodian PR Sreejesh made a brilliant save to deny the Black Sticks. With no goals coming in the second quarter, India went into the halfway break leading 1-0.

After the change of ends, an unmarked Gurjinder Singh had a great chance to double India's lead but he deflected the ball wide of the post. New Zealand immediately counter attacked and won a penalty corner in the 35th minute but Indian goalkeeper Sreejesh again stood tall, leaving the hosts frustrated.

New Zealand kept up the pressure and managed to equalise terms just before the end of the third quarter through Kane Russell (45th minute) who converted a penalty corner. Locked at 1-1, both sides tried to take the early lead in the fourth and final quarter.

India intensified their attack on the Kiwis and their efforts paid off in the 52nd minute when Manpreet Singh's accurate pass sent an accurate to Lalit Updhyay, who calmly finished off the move to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.

India sealed the match in the final minute when Nikkin Thimmaiah scored the third goal. India will now face New Zealand in the third Test match of the series in Christchurch on October 9.


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