India hockey
India could not make use of their penalty corners, which in turn led to their loss to New ZealandReuters

India failed to deliver against Australia in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup as Sardar Singh and his men lost to the Aussies 5-1 in Ipoh, Malaysia, Thursday. Australia looked a far better team, with clinical performance from their players.

India looked good in the opening few minutes, enjoying a fair share of possession, but were unlucky to concede a goal as Australia took a crucial lead in the first quarter. Blake Govers scored a wonderful goal via a penalty corner in the fifth minute.

India got back into the game immediately, with Rupinder Pal Singh scoring from their first penalty corner as well. India could have taken a lead in the 11th minute, but a wonderful save from Australia goalie denied India the lead.

Australia were looking dangerous whenever they had the ball, and scored a field goal with two minutes to go in the first quarter. Jake Whetton slotted the ball home from close range after Jamie Dwyer's brilliant pass.

Though Australia had one goal edge over India in the beginning of second quarter, the Aussies played some wonderful hockey, scoring two more goals, making it more difficult for India. Eddie Ockenden and Simon Orchard scored in the 20th and 26th minute, respectively.

India were decent in the first quarter, but Australia dominated the game in the second.

With Australia leading 4-1, they were looking for one more goal in the third quarter to put the game to bed, while India wanted to get back into the contest with few goals. So, both the teams were to score goals in the third quarter. India and Australia came close a few times in the initial stages, but neither of the teams scored.

Australia came close in the fourth quarter early on, with Jamie Dwyer striking a hard and low shot, but was wide. India also got a chance to score via a penalty corner, but Rupinder drag-flicked it wide. However, the match was over when Australia scored their fifth goal in the 55th minute. Matt Gohdes scored a diving goal from close range, putting his body on the line. Australia scored the goal after India defenders lost the ball in their own half. India eventually lost the game 5-1.

The game did show India's weakness at the back, and also team's dependent on penalty corners for goal. India forwards did not trouble the Australia defenders much, as they failed to penetrate the circle during the game on a consistent basis.

India are set to face Canada in their next game, Sunday.