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Saturday, February 21, 2009

India-New Zealand play draw

India made a smart recovery from an early goal deficit to hold New Zealand to a 1-1 draw in their first Test of the four-match hockey series at the National Stadium here on Saturday.

The visitors were jolted by a third minute goal through New Zealand captain Phil Burrows but their smart change of tactics in the second session yielded the equaliser in the 55th minute through SV Sunil.

The Kiwis, who lost both their matches to India in the Punjab Gold Cup in Chandigarh earlier this month, dominated the first half and went into the breather 1-0 up.

However, India changed tactics in the second session by switching to short passing build-up instead of hard hitting into the circle.

This caught up the Black Sticks unawares and, coupled with some solid defending by the Indians, the home side were forced to commit mistakes.

India missed three chances for the equaliser as forwards Rajpal Singh, SV Sunil and Shivendra Singh were off target.

However, Sunil made amends 15 minutes from the final hooter and slotted home from close range past goalkeeper Stephen Graham after a set up by Arjun Halappa.

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