India’s star drag-flicker V Raghunath netted two goals to help the hosts settle for a 2-2 draw against world champions Australia in the first hockey Test of the three-match series, in Rajnandgaon, on Thursday.
The series has been oraganised as a preparation for both the teams ahead of Hero Hockey World League Finals to be held in Raipur from November 27 to December 6.
Raghunath slammed two goals for the hosts in the 28th and 43rnd minute, while Australia salvaged the draw riding on an early goal by Dylan Wotherspoon (9th) and a late strike strike by penalty corner specialist Chris Ciriello (58th).
Thursday's match also marked Chhattisgarh's first-ever exposure to an international hockey match. The remaining two Tests of the series match will be played on November 22 and 23 at the recently inaugurated Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Hockey Stadium in Raipur, which will host the HWL Final.
"It was an important match, and we were tested on all fronts. The good news is that we have shown composure and we played with the hunger to win. We will go back to reconstruct our strategy for the next match and hopefully we should see the results favouring us," India's chief coach and High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans said.