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India check Pakistan march
February 22, 2006 20:26 IST
After three defeats on the trot, India did well to break an embarrassing sequence by holding Pakistan to a 1-1 draw in the first Test of the second leg, of the hockey series at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday.
The result was enough to help Pakistan clinch the series, having taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the six-match rubber by clean sweeping the Indian leg.
The hosts squandered a number of chances and allowed India to snatch a draw through a Tejbir Singh goal in the 65th minute.
Earlier, penalty-corner specialist Mohammed Imran had given Pakistan the lead in the 16th minute.
Pakistan, a far better side than the visitors in today's match, were themselves to blame for the draw as their strikers threw away several chances in the second half.
Shabbir Ahmed, especially, was guilty of missing out on four golden opportunities.
Some credit should also go to Indian custodian Bharat Chetri, whose anticipation thwarted dangerous attempts by the likes of Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abassi and Mudassar Ali Khan.
While the Indian strikers again fell victim to their weakness of faltering inside the circle, Tejbir Singh's goal came as a breath of fresh air, saving India the blushes of losing to Pakistan for the fourth time in a row.
Just five minutes before the hooter, an unmarked Tejbir took the whole Pakistani defence by surprise as he moved with ease to his left inside the circle and hit an accurate reverse flick, leaving the Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Akbar and skipper Mohammed Saqlain rooted in their places.
Shivinder Singh then failed to bank on a good Rajpal Singh cross from the left.
In the first half, Pakistan drew the first blood after getting a penalty-corner in the 16th minute. Mohammed Imran's ground shot beat Chetri comprehensively.
The teams now move to Faisalabad for the next match of the series, on February 24.