The Indian women's hockey team held the world number two Australian team to a 2-2 draw on Sunday in its second round-robin match of the Olympic Test event in Tokyo.
The match saw India twice cancel out Australia’s lead to earn itself a hard-fought draw with Kaitlin Nobbs (14’) and Grace Stewart (43’) scoring for the Australians, while Vandana Katariya (36’) and Gurjit Kaur (59’) scored for India.
World No. 10 India started the match aggressively, matching Australia’s attacking hockey with its own which saw both teams earn penalty corners, but neither managed to score. It was only in the 14th minute that Australia was awarded a penalty stroke after an Indian defender blocked a shot at goal. Australia’s Kaitlin Nobbs made no mistake in converting from the spot to give her side a 1-0 advantage.
The Australians dominated the second quarter completely, putting the Indian team under pressure through multiple attacks and penalty corners. But India’s defense held firm and goalkeeper Savita made a couple of great saves to deny her opponents as Australia took its lead into the half-time break.
In the second half, it was India who struck on the break as Vandana Katariya finished off a superb team-move to equalise in the 36th minute. But the lead did not last long as Australia struck another in the 43rd minute through Grace Stewart after some exquisite team work, to make it 2-1.
However, India bounced back again and scored the second equalizer in the last quarter as Gurjit Kaur found the net in the 59th minute. Winning a crucial penalty corner, prolific drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur stepped up and struck a sweet blow into the back of the net to earn her side a well-deserved draw.
India will now face China on Tuesday, August 20 in its third and last round-robin match of the tournament.
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