Indian women lose 2-4 to Australia in first hockey Test

The Indian women's hockey team started their tour of Australia on a disappointing note, losing 2-4 in the first Test of the three-match series at the Mate Stadium on Thursday. Australia, ranked third in the world, took the lead with goals from debutant Aisling Utri and Maddy Fitzpatrick in the 21st and 27th minutes, respectively.
The Hockeyroos continued their dominance in the third quarter, adding two more goals through Alice Arnott and Courtney Schonell in the 32nd and 35th minutes. India, ranked eighth globally, managed to score through Sangita Kumari in the 29th minute and Sharmila Devi in the 40th minute.
The second match of the series is scheduled to take place at the same venue on Saturday. Additionally, India will play two matches against Australia 'A' as part of their preparations for the Hangzhou Asian Games.
The game started with Australia on the attack, earning early penalty corners. However, India's captain and goalkeeper, Savita, made crucial saves to deny the hosts. India also had their chances, but a poor injection during a penalty corner attempt let them down. The first quarter ended goalless.
Australia carried their attacking momentum into the second quarter, creating two bright chances, but Savita's excellent goalkeeping prevented them from extending their lead. However, Utri managed to breach Savita's defence in the 21st minute, giving Australia the lead. Fitzpatrick then converted a penalty corner in the 27th minute to double their advantage. Just before halftime, India pulled one back through Sangita's deflection.
The third quarter saw Australia's dominance continue as Alice deflected Jane Claxton's pass into the goal to restore their two-goal lead in the 21st minute. Three minutes later, Schonell added another goal with a reverse hit. Sharmila reduced the margin for India with a deflection from a penalty corner try.
In the final quarter, India replaced Savita with the young Bicchu Devi in goal. Bicchu made a double save in the 54th minute to keep India in the game. India had an opportunity to further narrow the deficit with a penalty corner, but Australia's goalkeeper, Newman Zoe, made a brilliant save, denying Navneet Kaur from scoring.
Overall, it was a disappointing start for the Indian women's hockey team, but they will have another chance to bounce back in the upcoming matches against Australia.