Indian forwards squandered innumerable scoring chances to see the visitors go down 0-2 to Argentina in the third hockey Test at the Estadio Panamericano in Mar del Plata (Argentina) on Thursday.
However, by virtue of two back-to-back wins in the opening two Tests, the visitors lead the four-match series 2-1 with the fourth and final match to be played on Friday.
Matias Paredes (6th minute) and Lucas Vila (32nd minute) were the goal scorers for Argentina.
Irrespective of the result, it was Sandeep Singh's men who initiated the attack right from the word go only to see the Indian forwards missing as many as three chances in the first five minutes.
India could have broken the ice as early as in the second minute of the match but luck did not favour them. Shivendra Singh's shot from linkman Rajpal Singh's set up kissed the post and went wide.
Striker Deepak Thakur and Tushar Khandker immediately followed it up when they wasted golden opportunities to take the lead with only Argentine goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi to beat.
After the early hiccups, the Argentines regrouped themselves and started concerted raids on the Indian citadel with crafty manoeuvres from winger Ignacio Bergner and striker Tomas Argento.
In the sixth minute, Argentine forward Parades pounced on India skipper Sandeep's defensive lapse to shot the ball home with a reverse and give the hosts 1-0.
India as he was unable to control a long slap ball from Sandeep.
The Argentines slowly and steadily started to take control of the game with good co-ordination and ball control from their midfielders, backed up by some solid defending from Lopez and Gilardi.
Argentina doubled their lead in the 32nd minute through Vila who made no mistake in beating Indian goalkeeper Baljit Singh with a low flick on the right after the visitors conceded a penalty corner following a carried foul in the striking circle.
Minutes before half-time, India had a golden opportunity to reduce the lead from their first short corner of the match but Sandeep's dragflick was way over the bar.
After the changeover, India came out all guns blazing and mounted a few spirited attacks on the Argentine goal but on most occasions custodian Vivaldi came to the hosts' rescue.
An agile and athletic Vivaldi stood between India and goal in the second half as he foiled as many as four raids on his citadel.
Vivaldi first thwarted inside forward Bharat Chikara's from the left flank and then followed it up with an acrobatic save to keep away Prabhjot Singh from finding the net with a powerful shot from 45 degree angle.
In the later stages of the match, the Argentine goalkeeper also foiled Thakur and SV Sunil's attempts to give his side the first victory of the series.