India nearly perfect in practice

HockeyThe gulf between the two the team was again evident on Saturday, and the scoreline too more like it this time, as India thrashed England 4-1 in the practice match at the National Stadium.

The last time England's Under-21 hockey team faced the Indian colts was two months ago in a group-stage match at the Sultan of Johor Cup. Recalling that encounter, England coach Jon Bleby said on Friday that his wards had played exceedingly well and yet lost 3-1 to the eventual champions.

"So we know India's standards," added the former England defender, on the eve of his team's practice match against the same opposition, ahead of the Junior World Cup.

The Johor Cup match result was, in fact, 2-1 in India's favour, but Bleby could be excused for remembering a wider margin of defeat. For the actual scoreline that day didn't really do justice to the extent of India's domination of England.

The gulf between the two the team was again evident on Saturday, and the scoreline too more like it this time, as India thrashed England 4-1 in the practice match at the National Stadium.

As soon as the match started, India took control while their English counterparts struggled to find their feet. Akashdeep Singh set up the first goal, in the fourth minute, when he breached England's defence and passed the ball to Talwinder Singh inside the circle. Talwinder first attempt was blocked by the goalkeeper but the forward pounced on the rebound and slotted the ball home.

England drew level in the 20th minute in a similar fashion when Indian goalkeeper Harjot Singh failed to clear the ball after initially blocking the shot.

The match was divided into three periods of 20 minutes each. India went ahead again after resumption when Gurjinder Singh produced one of his net-scorching dragflicks off India's first penalty corner.

While England tried to assert themselves in the second period, Indian defence, led by vice-captain Amit Rohidas, didn't give them any space. Rohidas, then, increased the lead in the final period, scoring off a penalty corner as Gurjinder distracted the charging defenders with a dummy.

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