After winning the second match of the four-game bilateral Test series against Japan, the Indian hockey team have a chance of clinching the series on Thursday at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, as both the nations are set for a third game.
The Indian team looked below par in the first game of the series, which finished 1-1, but India showed class as they put up an emphatic performance to win the match, 2-0.
S.K. Uthappa and Dharamvir Singh were the goal scorers for India, as they scored in the 27th and 48th minute respectively. It was not a big surprise as both India and Japan played an attacking brand of hockey from the first minute of the game, which made for an entertaining view.
India showed marked improvement from the first game, where they failed to convert their chances.
Japan coach Keonwook Kang felt India played better and wants to change their game-plan for the crucial third game.
"India were better than us in the second match and this is the only reason we lost. We made lots of mistakes and lost many opportunities. We need to change our game-plan for tomorrow's (today) match and focus more on our strategies to improve our game," IANS quoted Kang as saying.
Under new coach, Paul van Ass, India have showed some improvement with youngsters also impressing with their skills on the turf. These are encouraging signs. But, India have not looked potent during penalty corners, which van Ass wants to correct.
"We played better in the second match than the first but failed to materialise many opportunities. Right now, we are in the process of rectifying our mistakes. Tomorrow we need to create more opportunities and convert the penalty corners into goals which will help us put ourselves in a better place," van Ass said.
Under van Ass, India seems to have done fairly well as the men in blue finished third in the prestigious Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament in Malaysia including a win against Australia. And with India inching closer to a Test series win, India have started their preparation on the right note for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janerio.
Where to Watch Live
The live coverage of the third game of the four match Test series is scheduled for 7:30pm IST (11pm Japan Time, 10 am ET) with live coverage in India on DD Sports.