India eke out thrilling draw, pocket hockey series 3-1

Updated: 22 January 2012 19:45 IST

India made a stunning comeback in the second half to hold South Africa 3-3 in the fifth and final hockey Test on Sunday and clinch the five-match series 3-1.

India eke out thrilling draw, pocket hockey series 3-1

New Delhi:

India made a stunning comeback in the second half to hold South Africa 3-3 in the fifth and final hockey Test on Sunday and clinch the five-match series 3-1.


Trailing 0-3 at the breather, the Indians dished out a spirited fightback in the second half to end the series on an impressive note ahead of next month's Olympic qualifiers here.

The hosts had already pocketed the series on Friday after securing a hard-fought 4-3 win in the fourth Test. India had defeated South Africa 4-0 and 2-1 in the first two matches before the visitors registered their lone victory (2-3) in the third game.

Contrary to the result, it were the visitors who were the better side on display in the opening half, and scored three field goals in a span of nine minutes through Ricky West (26th minute), Ian Haley (31st) and Miguel Da Graca (34th).

India, however, regrouped and pumped in goals through Yuvraj Walmiki (43rd), V R Ragunath (49th) and young S K Uthappa (66th) to draw parity.

The Indians started positively and showed some sparks in the opening few minutes before fading out.

It took South Africa 26 minutes to capitalise on India's feeble defensive line when West tapped home after he was set up by Julian Hykes' brilliant stickwork from the right flank.

The tourists doubled their lead five minutes later through Haley, who slapped home after pouncing on a loose ball inside the circle.

Just a minute before the break another defensive lapse cost India dearly when Da Graca scored from Lloyd Norris-Jones' cross.

India, however, looked a different side in the second half and put the South African defence under constant pressure by searching for goals.

Their efforts bore fruit when Walimik scored from a close range after receiving a pass from Sardar Singh.



Topics : Gary Kirsten Anil Kumble Yuvraj Singh India South Africa Hockey
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