India have a welcome rest day in the Champions Trophy hockey event, but the elite six team competition means there are no easy matches. After one win and one loss, India now take on Australia tomorrow who are incidentally the only team to have played in all 25 editions of the event. But with no wins from two games, Australia could just be participating rather than winning this time.
India won the three-nation invitational event down under beating Australia in the final, giving the Indians the all-important psychological edge. The team lost an incredible match to Holland, but then hung on for a 3-2 victory over Germany in the dying moments of the match, while Australia have only a draw and a loss from their two matches so far. "We have played them in the last few months, they were playing fantastically well there. But now I don't know what has happened. They are overloaded or what? They are playing only 50 per cent capacity. I am not happy with their game," said Rajinder Singh, Coach, Indian Hockey Team. India and Australia have played each other nine times at the Champions Trophy. Australia may look to hold the edge with their five wins, but both of India's wins came the last two times the teams met at this event. Statistically Australia looks the stronger team with seven wins from the last ten times the two teams have played each other. But India won the last encounter between the two. However the Indian team has to be careful not to make the same mistake that nearly cost them the match against the second string Germans, that of underestimating their opponents. Australia have won the Champions Trophy seven times, and the match against Pakistan on Saturday saw them rally from a 4-2 deficit to draw the match 4-4. "India will be a critical match for us. The results at Perth and Sydney have nothing to do with here. But the experience of playing them does. And that's what we will be carrying with us," claimed Barry Dancer, Coach, Australian Team. Australia will come into Tuesday's match all guns blazing. They desperately need a win to avoid being relegated to the bottom of the table, while India with one win and one loss cannot afford to take it easy.