Former national champion Mouma Das held her nerve at crucial moments to guide India to a thrilling 3-2 bronze medal victory win over Canada in the women table tennis team competition at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne on Monday.
In a match that went to wire, Mouma displayed steely determination in the decider to clinch the medal for India.
This is India's first medal in the team events at the Games.
"It is a great win; every player played her part and even those who lost played their hearts out," said an overjoyed team manager Dhanraj Choudhary.
Choudhary was of the view that the victory will prove a shot in the arm for the players, who will now be more motivated to do well in the open events.
''To win a team medal at this level of competition is very tough, but Indian girls have done it,'' he said, adding, we hope for more medals in the Games now''.
It all started very promisingly with Poulomi Ghatak giving India a 1-0 lead when she downed the formidable Guang Hong Xu.
Interestingly, the Canadian women's team comprises players of Chinese origin.
Poulomi survived a scare when Guang took the lead midway through the first game. But the Indian recovered quickly and, with couple of powerful smashes, overtook her rival and won 13-11.
The loss of first game rattled Guang, who just could not find her rhythm in the second, which Poulomi clinched easily 11-7.
However it was neck and neck in the third as Guang made a desperate bid to catch up.
Poulomi did make some unforced errors but then made amends with some attacking play to wrap the game and match at 12-10. She won 13-11, 11-7, 12-10.
Canada roared back to draw parity as a higher ranked Mo Zhang overwhelmed Mouma Das in 11-9, 13-11, 11-8 in the next rubber. It was only in second game that the Indian was able to match her very fast and agile opponent.
Nandita Saha waged a grim battle against a determined Sara Yuen before emerging winner at 1-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-7 in 25 minutes to hand India the lead again.
Mo Zhang, who had beaten Mouma Das earlier, came back for her second match, against Poulomi Ghatak. The Canadian justified her ranking and reputation as she made short work of the Indian, winning 11-7, 11-8, 11-5, and drew level for Canada again.
The decider between Mouma Das and Guang Hong Xu was a thriller as the two gave nothing away.
Guang claimed the first game but Mouma won the next two without much ado. However, in the fourth, in her anxiety to finish the match, she committed couple of crucial unforced errors and Guang captialised on them to win and make it 2-2.
In the last game Mouma displayed experience and maturity. Her forehand and backhand shots left Guang stranded as she wrapped up the match in 32 minutes.
She won 5-11, 11-7, 11-3, 8-11, 11-5.