Gritty England edge out India


India started the match on a confident note, scoring two early goals to go 2-1 up at the breather at the University of Birmingham ground.

The visitors, however, failed to carry forward the momentum and conceded two goals in the second half to lose the opening series of their four-nation European tour.

Vikram Pillay (third) and SV Sunil (18th) scored for India, while England’s marksmen were Asley Jackson (30th, 50th) and Ian Mackay (64th). The hosts started the proceedings on a disastrous note with defenders Richard Mantell and Ali Wilson gifting India easy possession inside the opening two minutes. The Indians started to put pressure on the rival defence from the very beginning and soon their efforts bore fruit.

A foul inside the circle following English custodian Nick Brothers’ penalty corner save resulted in a penalty stroke in favour of the visitors and Vikram made no mistake in slotting the ball home.

With a goal lead in the early stages of the match, the Indians went on attacking mode and almost doubled their lead but for Brothers who made a good save off Dhananjay Mahadik’s shot from the top of the circle.

India soon doubled their lead after a good interplay in the last quarter of the pitch between Rajpal Singh and Sunil, who smashed home from five metres. Thereafter, England enjoyed a spell of prolonged possession but their probing was only rewarded with a number of long corners as India defended well in numbers. In the 24th minute, Jackson’s penalty corner effort was touched over the bar by Indian goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza. India will now head to Belgium for the second phase of their European tour which starts on Tuesday with the first Test match against Belgium.

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