Unforced errors, PC woes cost India as Aussies coast to a 4-0 win
The Indians were all over the kookaburras in the first quarter but failed to find the back of the net as the 125th international between the two sides got underway in a brisk fashion at Perth.
Blake Govers, however, made no mistake from the penalty stroke which the Aussies earned off a PC, and the opening goal in the 15th minute seemed to turn the tide in favour of the hosts who were initially on the back foot thanks to some smart penetrations by Graham Reid's chargers.
Krishan Pathak replaced Sreejesh in the second quarter and failed to stretch his pads far enough as Jeremy Hayward's drag flick was directed low and found the left corner of the net.
Pathak had a lucky escape when Tim Brand found Aaron Kleinschmidt who beat the Indian defence all ends up and missed the left-hand post by a whisker, after having done well to take Daniel Beale's PC deflection on his chest.
At the other end, debutant Jaskaran Singh pushed too early the first time after India earned a PC, and hesitated subsequently which caused Hayward to leave his line early.
Hayward was sent off, but the Indians failed to drive home the advantage and made a mess of the PC that followed with a mistrap by the stopper.
Craig and Kleinschmidt had the Indian defence in all kinds of trouble yet again but the Indians managed to keep the ball out and Johan Durst made two great saves in succession after India had earned their fifth PC.
A barren third quarter saw both sides testing each other out in midfield, but the Indians failed to reduce the margin, with the kookaburras having the better of the exchanges.
The relative inexperience of the midfield and the strikers showed up as the men up front seemed to be rather stationary when it came to picking up the passes and failed to make an effort to advance towards the oncoming balls.
Aussie goalkeeper Johan Durst played out the entire match and kept a clean sheet while Andrew Charter tracked the proceedings from the bench.
Sustained pressure from the Indians in the last ten minutes resulted in a couple of PCs but Durst stood his ground and when Reid took Pathak off, the kookaburras ran riot, scoring a couple at the death.
Mitton found the back of the net but the umpire signaled for a PC and Hayward scored the easiest of goals with no custodian in front of the Indian goal, while Blake Govers scored from the edge of the circle with a beauty of a tomahawk from an acute angle to seal the deal.
Apart from an ebullient first quarter and the occasional counter attack like the one which was piloted by Jaskaran Singh in the final quarter, the Indians never looked like getting on top of their rivals who recorded an emphatic victory.
Unforced errors led to the Indians conceding PCs, and a stroke, which cost them dear, as a result of which the Australians earned their 83rd win over India, and Graham Reid and the Indian think-tank have their work cut out before both teams clash again on Friday.