India seek dominance over Japan in hockey Test series

Indian team will look the end the series on a high

Bhubaneswar, May 8 (IANS)

With the four-Test hockey Series already in pocket, India will be eyeing their third consecutive win against Japan in their fourth and final match at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.

After playing a 1-1 draw in the first match, India won the next two matches to win the series. And for the final Test, they will be aiming at continuing with their attacking game with short passes whereas Japan will look to get their first win.

After playing three matches and getting positive results from all three matches, India are in a better position and are more confident to win the last Test of the series.

"We have been playing good hockey in this tournament and will continue to play in this way. Players are confident and in a good shape," senior defender Raghunath said on Friday, according to a release.

"Young players are doing a commendable job and they are taking responsibilities, which is good for the team," the 26-year-old Karnataka player added.

"We are focussing on our implementations of the strategies and looking forward to win the last match."

Senior players likr captain Sardar Singh, goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh and drag-flicker V.R. Raghunath are leading from the front. They have been backed well by youngsters Birendra Lakra, Rupinder Pal Singh and Akashdeep Singh.

Besides senior players, young players such as Manpreet Singh, Satbir Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Lalit Upadhyay are also producing good results and will look to be consistent.

Raghunath feels that the team needs to work harder to improve the penalty corner conversion rate.

"Penalty corner is a worry for us but we are working harder on that. Chief coach Paul van Ass is good in strategies and we are working on various game-plans."

Speaking after a practice session, Japan coach Keonwook Kang stated: "We are playing good enough in the last few matches. Players are committing mistakes, which cost us the match.

"We are working harder on correcting the mistakes and focussing more on strategies. Tomorrow, we will play harder to win the last match of the series."

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Edited by Staff Editor