Jamie Dwyer’s dazzling stickwork inside the circle spurred Australia to a 4-0 victory over Pakistan in the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here on Sunday.
World champions Australia stayed on top of the round-robin league standings with nine points from three successive victories.
Defending champion New Zealand, which today defeated Japan 4-1, is in the second spot with eight points from four outings.
Pakistan put up a stiff resistance despite Australia taking the initial lead through a 24th minute penalty corner conversion by Blake Govers before two goals in successive minutes featuring Dwyer took the fight out of them.
Dwyer set up the second Australian goal when he sent a reverse back-pass to Thomas Craig, who had worked up his way on the left side and made no mistake in shooting past goalkeeper Imran Butt in the 41st minute.
A minute later, Dwyer applied the finishing touch to a long through ball from Chris Ciriello as the deflection gave the custodian no chance.
Aran Zalewski rounded off the Australian scoring in the 52nd minute as he hustled past one defender on top of the circle and beat another with his low shot into the boards.
Pakistan, whose next fixture is against arch-rival India on Tuesday, now has three points from three outings.
Starting with a victory over Canada in its opening match, Pakistan has suffered two successive defeats at the hands of New Zealand and Australia.
Kiwis fly past Japan
New Zealand faced no trouble in overcoming the young Japanese team, which features nine youngsters appearing in their first senior tournament.
Nick Wilson opened the account in the fourth minute in open play and captain Simon Child extended the lead with another field goal in the 13th minute.
Japan shot back through a flash strike from Kazuma Murata in the 20th minute.
The young Japanese team played a close-marking game to deny the Black Sticks until Nic Woods converted a penalty corner in the 27th minute.
Hugo Inglis flicked past goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa two minutes from close to round off New Zealand’s scoring.
New Zealand has now won two and drawn two of its matches. For Japan this was its fourth successive loss.