India win hockey Test series in New Zealand

March 1st, 2009 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Auckland, March 1 (IANS) Skipper Sandeep Singh and Dilip Tirkey struck as India beat New Zealand 2-0 in the fourth and last hockey match at the Lloyd Elsmore Stadium here Sunday and wrapped up the four-match Test series.
Tirkey opened the account in the 43rd minute and Sandeep doubled the lead just three minutes from the final whistle to end the tour on a winning note for India. The vistors drew the first and the third match 1-1 and won the second match 2-1.

After a hard fought first-half that ended goalless, India stepped up the game in the second half to strike twice.

India could have opened the account in the 19th minute but Sandeep’s drag-flick was saved on the goal-line. In the next few another chance went begging as Shivendra Singh failed to convert after being set up by Sardar Singh.

Arjun Halappa and Tushar Khandekar troubled the Black Sticks defence by making regular forays from both the flanks and and midfielders Rajpal Singh, Sardar and Gurbaj Singh also maintained the pressure with their moves to prise open the defence.

In the second half, India stepped up the pressure and Tirkey, playing his 380th international match, converted a penalty strike in the 43rd minute to give India the lead much.

Sandeep then struck the winner in the 67th minute finding the top left of the goal with apparent ease.

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