Author: Ben Somerford
Doubles from Blake Govers and Jeremy Hayward have helped the Kookaburras to a 4-0 win over world number five India in the first of their two-match Test series in Perth.
Govers opened the scoring with a stroke in the 15th minute before Hayward added a second with a trademark drag flick which was too good for India keeper Krishan Pathak.
After an end-to-end second period, India pushed Australia in the third quarter before removing their goalkeeper for an outfield player in the final five minutes, allowing the hosts to capitalise.
Hayward fired in from a short corner in the 59th minute, while Govers shot high into the unguarded net to make it 4-0 and round out the win in front of more than 1,100 fans.
The match was closer than the score line suggested although the Kookaburras will be content with the win as they prepare for the European leg of the FIH Pro League next month.
The two nations will do battle again at Perth Hockey Stadium from 6:30pm AWST on Friday night, live on Hockey Australia’s Youtube channel.
— Kookaburras (@Kookaburras) May 15, 2019
Wollongong forward Govers stepped up to send Sreejesh the wrong way with a powerful stroke for 1-0..
India came close in the 19th minute when Birendra Lakra’s deflected drive hit the side-netting before Australia immediately went down the other end and scored.
The world number two Kookaburras won a short corner from the resulting counter-attack which Hayward rifled past Pathak.
Aaron Kleinschmidt shot wide in the 24th minute after Lachlan Sharp and Tim Brand combined in a fast break.
Harmanpreet Singh tested the Australian defence from a corner before another Kleinschmidt chance fizzed across goal eluding Govers at the back post.
In just his second cap for Australia, the impressive Johan Durst made a fine double save from an Indian 26th minute penalty corner.
India bossed the play in the third quarter although they were unable to generate any clear-cut chances on goal.
Akashdeep Singh forced another good block from Durst in the 52nd minute, while Flynn Ogilvie thwarted Harmanpreet’s flick on the line from a short corner as India mounted more pressure.
Jake Whetton and Tom Craig almost combined to set up a sliding Brand with five minutes to go, as the Indians removed their goalkeeper to provide a numerical advantage up the field.
It didn’t pay off as Australia pushed forward with Whetton’s angled effort hitting the post, then an Indian boot inside the D, allowing Hayward to fire into the net from a short corner without an opposition goalkeeper.
Govers added another in the absence of an Indian goalkeeper, dribbling inside the shooting circle before firing a high shot into the back of the net.
Australia 4 (Govers 15’, 60’, Hayward 20’, 59’)