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Hockey: Hayward scores a brace as India slump to 1-5 defeat in the fourth match, lose series 1-3

The Indian men’s hockey team’s bittersweet tour of Australia continued on Saturday with another defeat for Harmanpreet Singh and his boys and losing the five-match series 3-1.

Australia came up with a clinical performance to outclass India 5-1 in the fourth match of the tour at the Mate Stadium, here. With this victory, Australia sealed the five-match series 3-1, with one more match to be played.

Jeremy Hayward (29′, 41′) scored a brace for the home team while Jake Whetton (30′), Tom Wickham (34′) and Matt Dawson (54′) were the other goal-scorers.

Dilpreet Singh set the ball rolling for India in the 25th minute after a goalless first quarter but it was all downhill after that.

The World no.1 side showcased its defensive prowess on Saturday, led by star goalkeeper Andrew Charter who made some exceptional saves to keep India from scoring.

After the initial few minutes of struggle to make space in the striking circle, India made the breakthrough in the 25th minute when Dilpreet put his skillset on display to score and give the visitors the lead.

However, the visitors could not hold on to the lead as Australia responded with a goal in the next four minutes. It was in-form Hayward who converted a penalty corner in the 29th minute. Only a minute later, they put another one in the net through Jake Whetton.

Even though the Indian forwards made desperate forays into the striking circle in the following two quarters, they could not breach the home team’s defence. To add to their woes, Australia pumped goals at regular intervals giving India no room to bounce back.

Two goals in the third quarter via Tom Wickham in the 34th minute and Hayward in the 41st minute further put India under pressure. The final quarter saw Australia ride on the momentum as they increased the lead to 5-1 from a penalty corner in the 54th minute.

“Australia were definitely a better team today. They played defensively right from the start and we could not capitalize on the lead by putting pressure on them. As I had said earlier, this tour has given us great exposure and playing against a quality side like Australia is always a learning experience. We now know the areas that we need to further work on ahead of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela,” said captain Harmanpreet Singh.

“We will try and bounce back in tomorrow’s match and look to end the tour on a good note,” he signed off.

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