India held by New Zealand in hockey

February 21st, 2009 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, Feb 21 (IANS) India were held by New Zealand to a 1-1 draw in the first match of the four-match hockey Test series at the National Hockey Stadium here Saturday.
New Zealand took the lead in the third minute through captain Phil Burrows while India levelled the score in the 55th minute with a strike from S.V. Sunil.

The Kiwis who lost both their matches to India in the Punjab Gold Cup at Chandigarh earlier this month, played strongly in the first half.

India, however, changed tactics and caught out the Black Sticks on defence and forced them to lose accuracy. The Kiwis tried hard to attack in the circle but the ploy didn’t work for them. The visitors then started playing with short passes and surprised the Kiwis as Sunil slotted from close range past goalkeeper Stephen Graham.

India started brightly in the opening session forcing a penalty corner in the first minute when defender Richard Petherick fouled inside the circle. Sandeep Singh’s flick was well saved by Graham low to his right.

The Black Sticks took control of the game thereafter with well orchestrated midfield forays. The-28-year-old Burrows playing his 212th international in front of his home crowd benefited from good work done by fellow striker Simon Child and helped New Zealand to take the lead.

India, however, were a much changed side in the second half with a resolute defence led by the veteran Dilip Tirkey. His measured interceptions denied the opponents much headway in this session.

India missed three scoring chances as the forwards Rajpal Singh, Sunil and Shivendra Singh were off target.

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