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Hockey team hoping to keep momentum
September 28, 2004 17:55 IST
Having squared the series after a spectacular victory in the second Test, a resurgent India will be looking to keep the momentum going when they take on a wounded Pakistan in the third hockey Test in Peshawar on Wednesday.
Putting behind the disappointment of losing the series opener in Karachi, India regrouped well to thrash Pakistan 4-1 at Quetta on Monday and thus won their first match in eight outings over their arch rivals this year.
Indian captain Dilip Tirkey said the team is hoping to continue in the same vein in the remaining matches of the series.
"I am delighted that the team played very well and now we are level in the series. Now we must keep the momentum going in the remaining matches," Tirkey said.
The defeat must have come as a rude jolt to the experienced home team that was expected to steamroll the depleted Indian team in the series, being played after a gap of five years.
The hosts paid the price for taking their inexperienced opponents lightly and will be keen to make amends tomorrow.
India's Chief Coach Gerhard Rach said he was surprised to see the way Pakistan played yesterday but added the defeat must have taught the home side a lesson or two.
"I think Pakistan did not avail the opportunities, while we capitalised on the chances we got. But I was not expecting such a victory," Rach told reporters.
"I don't know why Pakistanis did not take us seriously. Their body language showed they were not keen and motivated," the German-born coach added.
The win must have given a big boost to the confidence of the Indians, who did reasonably well to come out triumphant against their formidable opponents.
The visitors excelled in almost all the departments of the game. Goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza had yet another fine outing, the defenders were tight, the mid-fielders coordinated well and the forwards created chances.
But perhaps the biggest gain for the side was the success of drag-flicker Sandeep Singh, who scored twice from penalty-corners to end his lean patch at the highest level.
Sandeep, hero in this year's junior Asia Cup in Karachi while top scoring with 15 goals, had a highly forgettable outing in the Athens Olympics, where he hardly got a chance to play after failing to impress in the first match of the mega event.
He played for about three minutes in the first Test at Karachi, coming in at the fag end of the match that India lost 1-2.
But yesterday, he featured in the starting line-up and justified the team management's faith by scoring twice in a span on three minutes to set his side on course for the big win.
Rach, who also seemed quite impressed with the performance of the forwards, and said his side is looking to do better in tomorrow's game.
"I think planning in the morning helped us a lot and the result is a better performance by the forwards. Now we are looking for even better results in the Peshawar game," he said.
Pakistan's new captain Waseem Ahmed knows that to beat the Indians in the third match, his players must not make the mistakes they made in Quetta.
"There is no particular reason for the defeat yesterday. The thing is that Indians played well and they won. We will be preparing for the third match after rectifying our mistakes," he said.
India: Dilip Tirkey (capt), Devesh Chauhan, Adrian D'Souza, Harpal Singh, Sandeep Singh, William Xalxo, Viren Rasquinha, Vikram Pillay, Ignace Tirkey, V S Vinay, Prabodh Tirkey, Vivek Gupta, Adam Sinclair, Arjun Halappa, Sandeep Michael, Tushar Khandekar, Hari Prasad.
Pakistan: Waseem Ahmed (capt), Salman Akber, Nasir Ahmed, Sohail Abbas, Zeeshan Ashraf, Muhammad Imran, Imran Warsi, Ghazanfar Ali, Adnan Maqsood, Dilawar Hussain, Abdul Aasim
Khan, Imran Khan, Rehan Butt, Mudassar Ali Khan, Kashif Jawwad, Shakeel Abbasi, Adnan Zakir, Tariq Aziz, Shabbir Hussain and Akhtar Ali.