Bengaluru: The Indian men's hockey team registered its second successive victory against New Zealand, beating the visitors 3-1 to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match Test series at the Sports Authority of India's Bengaluru Campus.
India began the opening quarter with a structured attack, with striker SV Sunil taking the team's first potential shot on goal in the opening minute. The shot was well defended by New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce, but it seemed to set the tone for the rest of the match.
India dominated the quarter as the team's attack won two penalty corner opportunities, however, the home team could not convert and the two teams ended the first quarter in a stalemate.
The second quarter saw India showcase an improvised attack. They won three back-to-back penalty corners in the 18th minute and Rupinder Pal Singh was lucky on his third attempt, after two previous flicks were blocked by New Zealand's first rusher.
It was Manpreet Singh with a perfect pass that was powerfully picked up by Rupinder to fire it past Joyce, fetching India their first breakthrough. Almost a minute later, the experienced forward Sunil won India another penalty corner, but this time the variation did not work.
In the 24th minute, Stephen Jenness caught the Indian defence off guard when he pierced through the striking circle, beating PR Sreejesh, who had run up to block him and found an open goal for an equaliser.
India responded with a splendid field goal in the 27th minute through striker Sunil, who worked in tandem with Simranjeet Singh. This brilliant goal won back India their lead and ended the second quarter with the scoreboard reading 2-1 in favour of the hosts.
New Zealand stitched together an improvised defence in the third quarter but their attack remained ineffective.
India upped the ante in the final quarter as they made bold forays into the striking circle. One such attempt resulted in a brilliant pass from Sunil to Mandeep Singh, who swiftly deflected into the post, taking India's lead to 3-1 in the 56th minute. The defence held strong to keep up the lead till the end.
Updated Date: Jul 21, 2018 22:15:38 IST