4th Hockey Test: Fighting India eves hold New Zealand 2-2
The Indian women’s hockey team put up their best performance in the ongoing Test series against New Zealand, nearly pulling off their first win of the series in the fourth Test in Palmerston North, before a late goal enabled the Black Sticks to hold the visitors to a 2-2 draw.
Indian eves thus snapped the winning run of New Zealand, who won the first Test 7-2 before posting come-from-behind identical 3-1 wins in the second and third Tests respectively.
But the Indian team’s effort went in vain as the draw means that the hosts are assured of winning the six Test series as they enjoy a cosy 3-0 lead with two games to go.
After a scratchy showing in the first three Tests, the women in blue dished out a clinical brand of hockey on Wednesday and controlled the proceedings for most part of the match.
In fact, New Zealand appeared promising in the initial stages and went ahead through Sian Fremaux, who made the most of a counter-attack from Anita Punt.
India offered a robust riposte, scoring twice in a space of five minutes to go into half time with a 2-1 lead.
Vandana Katariya first restored parity, coming up with a superbly executed reverse stick shot, which was too good for Black Sticks goalkeeper Amelia Gibson.
Indian captain Ritu Rani put her side ahead seconds before the half time hooter, sounding the board from a penalty-corner melee.
It was Fremaux, who proved to be New Zealand’s saviour when she levelled things ten minutes from the final hooter, scoring her second goal of the match following a fine counter-attack from captain Stacey Michelsen.
Both teams would now play in the 5th and 6th Tests in Wellington on Friday and Saturday.