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India beat Pakistan 2-0; Adrian adjudged player of the series
V Subrahmanyam | October 10, 2004 22:58 IST
Last Updated: October 10, 2004 23:02 IST
India broke the shackles to register a 2-0 win over arch-rivals Pakistan in the eighth and final hockey Test in Hyderabad on Sunday even though the visitors claimed the series 4-2.
India, who went into the final match having already lost the series, rode on fine goals by Sandeep Michael (17th minute) and Tushar Khandekar (21st) to chalk out victory and salvage some pride in the first series between the arch-rivals in five years.
This was also India's first win of the series on home soil as their earlier victory had come during the Pakistan leg, in the second Test in Quetta.
Pakistan, who came to India with a 2-1 lead, won in Delhi and Amritsar while the Test in Chandigarh ended in a draw.
India came to Hyderabad with happy memories of the venue where they had a cent percent record against Pakistan, having won the earlier two encounters convincingly.
Both the matches were held during the Afro-Asian Games last year, when India won the league contest before going on to beat the same side in the final for the title.
Captain Dilip Tirkey returned after missing two Tests due to injury to guide the team to victory at the Gochibowli Stadium.
Though the series was already lost, there was lots of pride at stake to play for and the players did not disappoint as they played as a cohesive unit by using the both the flanks well to put pressure on the Pakistani defence before a Michael's goal gave the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Khandekar made it 2-0 four minutes later with an equally brilliant goal that put the hosts in the driver's seat.
Prabodh Tirkey had a good solo run on a counter attack following a penalty corner and at the half-line sent it across to Khandekar who rolled the ball inside the circle before taking the shot that beat the Pakistani goalkeeper all ends up.
The Pakistani custodian could hardly react as the shot went through his leg, prompting Khandekar to pump his fist in the air before being joined in by his jubilant teammates in the celebration.
Goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza, who continued his fine show to win the man of the series award, excelled once again by denying the new world record holder Sohail Abbas from scoring from three penalty-corners in the first half.
He charged out every time Abbas took his shot, denying the ace drag-flicker enough space to put the set pieces into good use.
In the process, D'Souza also earned a green card from the neutral umpire, Amarjit Singh, for charging out too early on more than one occasion.
Pakistan looked off colour in the match, which was played under lights and had no bite in their attack.
Their misery was compounded by the failure of Abbas, the world's highest goal scorer, who failed to convert as many as five of the six penalty-corners the visitors earned.
Despite the loss, it was a memorable outing for Abbas, who walked under an umbrella of hockey sticks formed by the Indian and Pakistani players just before the start of the match.
The penalty-corner expert was also presented the 'Best Achiever Award', a cash prize of US $1,000, while D'Souza got US $2,000 for winning the best player of the tournament award.