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Hockey: India beat Australia in final
June 08, 2003 14:52 IST
India on Sunday defeated Australia 5-3 to win the second leg of the Hockey Australia Men's Challenge and finish their 12-day tour of Australia on a high note.
The final was played before a packed house at the Sydney International Hockey stadium.
India scored first through Jugraj Singh (30th minute). Gagan Ajit Singh (31), Prabhjot Singh (38 and 64) and Baljit Singh Dhillon (66) added to the tally.
Troy Alder scored a hat-trick (45, 55, 70) for Australia but was unable to prevent India from registering their first win against the hosts on the tour.
"This is a great finish to our tour. I am absolutely thrilled with the way the boys played," said an elated coach Rajinder Singh who had said the twin tournaments would start India's build-up to the Champions Trophy in August and next year's Olympic Games at Athens.
"We would like to continue in the same vein," he said.
The visitors, keen to give the Australians a taste of their own medicine after narrowly losing the first leg final in Perth 1-2 last week, started on a positive note.
The three strikers -- skipper Dhanraj Pillay, Prabhjot Singh and Dhillon -- put up a disciplined performance to create opportunities but failed to convert any of them till the 30th minute.
India broke the deadlock when Jugraj Singh converted a penalty corner in the 30th minute and 90 seconds later, Gagan
Ajit Singh scored a brilliant field goal to make the score 2-0.
Pillay and Dhillon combined well and with the help of some brilliant stickwork helped Gagan Ajit Singh score, much to the delight of the Indians fans who had thronged the stadium.
India led 2-0 at half-time and extended their advantage when Prabhjot Singh scored the first of his two goals in the 38th minute.
With 25 minutes remaining, Australia scored their first goal through Alder who converted a penalty corner to rekindle
his team's hope of staging a recovery.
Alder again sounded the board 10 minutes later -- this time dodging the Indian defenders for a fine field goal -- as
Australia began to choke the Indian defence with good attacking moves.
But veteran goalkeeper Devesh Chouhan came up with a brilliant display and saved at least four shots.
Prabhjot Singh (64th minute) and Baljit Singh (66th minute) slotted home within a space of two minutes to catapult the team to a three-goal lead and virtually end Australia's hopes of winning.
Alder scored off a penalty corner in the last minute to complete the hat-trick, which was the only consolation for the
The 3500-odd crowd gave India a standing ovation as the team undertook a lap of honour.
Later, the Australian skipper Brent Livermore praised the Indian team for putting up a fine performance.
"We played some good hockey throughout the competition, but today they were the better team. The Indians are a good opposition," he said.
Pillay received the trophy from Hockey Australia president Pam Tye.