Australia defeated India 4-3 in the final game of the two-match hockey series here on Wednesday, shattering Indian men’s dream of securing a sweep of world No 1 in the two-Test series.
Playing with 10 men for large periods of the third quarter, India defended stoutly but were edged past by the home side in a pulsating match.
In the first match yesterday, India bested Australia by 3-2 win as youngster Affan Yousuf scored two goals during the first half.
However, the visitors fell short today.
Indian men were the first to rock the board, Akashdeep Singh scoring in the sixth minute.
The home team settled into the game a bit as the period went on and scored in the 13th minute via Trent Mitton. That goal would take both teams into the first break level at 1 goal apiece.
In an action-packed second quarter, Captain V.R. Raghunath gave India the lead off a superbly executed penalty corner in the 22nd minute.
Australia equalised via a penalty corner converted by Jake Whetton in the very next minute. Both teams played attacking hockey and constantly shifted the momentum.
India had the final say when another Raghunath goal via a penalty corner gave them the lead as the teams went into half time.
In an ill-tempered third quarter that saw four yellow cards, three to Indian players, Australia wrested back the control, scoring an equaliser via a Jeremy Hayward penalty corner conversion in the 38th minute.
India were down by a player for long passages of play in the quarter and were even stuck with nine on the field for a while, with Nikkin Thimmaiah and Pardeep Mor both on yellow cards serving suspensions. The teams went into the final break level at 3-3.
Australia were the stronger team in the final period.
In the 54th minute, Hayward scored his second off a penalty corner to give them the lead.
India looked to make some inroads into the Australian defence and force an equaliser but the home side held on for a series levelling victory.
(With IANS inputs)