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Boosted by a brace from striker Affan Yousuf, the Indian men's hockey team recorded a 3-2 win over Australia in the opening game of the two-match Test series here on Tuesday.
The two teams had previously faced off in a pulsating encounter at the Four-Nations Invitational Tournament and there was to be no drop in quality even in their opener here. India started off quicker, holding the ball and controlling the midfield. Despite several circle penetrations, the game remained goal less going into the first break.
Affan Yousuf opened the scoring for India in the 19th minute, with a wonderfully constructed field goal and then doubled his tally and the lead, with another in the same minute as India went into halftime firmly in control and in the lead.
The second half had a completely different texture as India looked happy to sit back, absorb the pressure and take Australia on the counter. Australia on the other hand were incisive and precise, and drew themselves level via goals from Matthew Willis (36') and Trent Mitton (43').
Within a minute of the equaliser though India won themselves a penalty corner, and from the subsequent attempt, VR Raghunath made no mistake, scoring to put his team back into the lead. India went into the final break leading 3-2. The period was also marked by several cards being shown by the umpires, an illustration perhaps of how committed both teams were.
The two teams went at each other in the final quarter, India cautious but not too defensive so as to risk an equaliser. They held on for the victory and took a 1-0 lead in the series.
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