India back to winning ways, show mettle in 3-1 win over England

India made a bright start to their campaign at the Champions Trophy hockey tournament with a come-from-behind 3-1 win over England in Pool A at the State Hockey Centre in Melbourne Saturday.

The new-look Indian team clinched a morale-boosting win through goals from opportunistic field goals from Danish Mujtaba (22nd minute) and Yuvraj Walmiki (38th) before Gurwinder Singh Chandi scored in a set-piece penalty corner (66th minute).

Earlier, the India defence was breached by a drag flick from Richard Smith in the 14th minute. But Michael Nobbs' side did well to put that behind them quickly.

Playing the first major international event after their disastrous last-place finish in the London Olympics, India have come to the elite eight-nation Champions Trophy with a new look team after dropping several ageing stars. England too have brought a young, experimental team here after several regular players took a break following the Olympics.

India will take on New Zealand tomorrow in their second outing in Pool A, which also features Olympic gold medallists Germany, who beat New Zealand 3-2 in the other Pool A match.

India forced their first penalty corner four minutes later, but V R Raghunath's low drag flick was blocked on the goal-line by a defender. England could have gone two up in the 21st minute when an opportunistic deflection by David Condon on a long through ball went across the goalmouth.

Mujtaba put India on par by deflecting a long diagonal ball into the goal after lunging forward to beat his marker and also managed to put the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper. Walmiki made the most of a diagonal ball from Sunil as he managed to get an opportunistic touch past goalkeeper George Pinner three minutes into the second session.

Goalkeeper T.R. Potunuri, who got to play in the absence of first-choice custodian P.R. Sreejesh, managed to block the feeble pushes into his pads.

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