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India, Holland draw first Test

February 05, 2004 21:26 IST

Star forward Gagan Ajit Singh scored a spectacular goal in the 45th minute to earn India a 1-1 draw in the first hockey Test against The Netherlands at the Gachibowli stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.

Trailing 0-1 at half-time, the Indians, playing for the first time after a miserable showing in the Azlan Shah tournament last month, staged a strong fightback on resumption and restored parity through Gagan Ajit, who received a fine pass from Baljit Singh Dhillon and beat Dutch goalkeeper Guus Vogels hands down with a neat scoop.

Earlier, Taeke Taekema had put the Olympic champions ahead in the 32nd minute, converting a penalty-corner.

The three-Test series got off to rousing start with both sides showing shades of aggression. But it was the Dutch who had the upper hand in the first half as they forced as many as eight penalty-corners.

After dominating the proceedings with most of the action in the Indian midfield, Holland took the lead making full use of a penalty-corner. Teun Nooijer pushed the ball with precision and Taekema baffled Indian custodian Devesh Chauhan with a fine shot.

Both India and Holland are using the series to prepare for next month's Olympic qualifier in Madrid.

Holland, despite being defending Olympic champions, have to go through the grind of qualifying because of a new rule which allows only the Continental champions a direct berth into the Games.

The Dutch lost out to Germany, who clinched the European championship.

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