The Indian hockey team went down fighting 3-4 to South Africa in its last friendly match in the run-up to the Tri-Nation at La Albericia, Spain on Wednesday.
The goal-scorers for India were Danish Mujtaba, Sandeep Singh and SK Uthappa while Clinton Panther, Thoton McDade, Llyod Norris-Jones and Justin Reid Ross were on target for South Africa.
Clinton Panther put South Africa ahead in the ninth minute, scoring a field goal. Thoton McDade scored another goal for his team in the 17th minute. India reduced the margin four minutes later with a field goal scored by forward Danish Mujtaba.
Going into the second half, India created good moves penetrating in the circle and levelled 2-2 in the 47th minute through a penalty corner converted by Sandeep Singh.
However, three minutes later, Llyod Norris-Jones put South Africa ahead. India fought back strongly and equalised seven minutes later through a field goal by SK Uthappa. South Africa scored the winning goal in the 61st minute through a penalty corner by Justin Reid.
In the run-up to the Tri-Nation, India drew with Spain 3-3 before losing the second Test 1-2 and beat South Africa 6-5 in the first friendly. The four matches helped the Indian players adjust to the blue turf.
India will now play against Great Britain tomorrow in the inaugural match of Tri-Nation series at Santander, Spain.