Australia Eddie Ockenden India VR Raghunath
India will face the stiffest test possible when they take on AustraliaReuters

The highs of the Asian Games gold medal, won via an enthralling final victory over rivals Pakistan, was quickly followed by the lows of the Terry Walsh will-he-stay-won't-he-stay-as-India-coach saga, showing yet again that there is never a dull moment in Indian hockey.

However, now that the dust has settled over Walsh's future as India coach, hopefully, India will look to hit their preparations for the prestigious Champions Trophy, which begins early next month in Bhubaneswar, into overdrive starting with the first of four test matches against Australia on Tuesday in Perth.

They don't come more formidable opponents than Australia in hockey nowadays, and having been on the receiving end of a few big losses, most recently in the hockey final of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, India will know the importance of being at their absolute best to even stand a chance of coming away from Down Under with a positive result.

"It's exciting times for Indian Hockey being up against the best team," said coach Walsh to Hockey India's official website. "It is the best exposure for the young boys, as it will help them learn and grow.

"Playing against Australia is a benchmark and will bring out the best in the players. Training sessions have been going good so far and we are all growing as a team and it will be a good show coming up in this tournament."

The first match on Tuesday will be followed by three more – all to be played at the Perth Hockey Stadium -- on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and India, even if they don't come away with victories, will look to gain as much match practice and experience as possible while playing against such formidable opponents.

"Champions Trophy is an important tournament for all of us, as we will see the world's best teams fighting it out for the title," said India captain Sardar Singh. "It is a good opportunity for the younger players, as this four-match series is going to benefit them by helping them learn the nitty-gritty of hockey at international level.

"The training sessions have concluded pretty well and the whole team is performing well as a unit. We are working on the finishing at all positions, be it defence, midfield or forward. It is good to see the enthusiasm of the junior players as they are really keen to learn."

Where to Watch Live

The match is set for a 7 pm local time (10 pm AEDT, 4.30 pm IST) start with no live coverage in India in any of the networks. The India vs Australia match, however, can be watched via free live streaming online on Hockey Australia's Official Youtube Channel. Coverage of the action begins at 6.30 pm local time (9.30 pm AEDT, 4 pm IST).

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