Ranchi: Forward Akashdeep Singh's blinder in the dying moments of the game helped India edge past Australia 3-2 in the final hockey Test but the hosts ended up losing the series when they faltered in the deciding penalty shootout, here on Monday.
India played a gritty game against the reigning world champions to steal a worthy win in the third and final match after drawing the opening Test and then losing out in the second.
With the score reading 3-2 at the final whistle, the match moved into the penalty shoot out to decide the winner of the series, which was tied at 1-1. The shoot-out saw a reverse of the match score as Australia won it 3-2.
The match started with the first quarter going goalless.
India drew first blood in the second quarter when VR Raghunath converted a penalty corner to give India the lead in the 17th minute.
Luck was on Raghnath's side when his solid drag flick took a deflection and beat the Australian goalkeeper.
Raghunath has been India's best man in the series with three goals. The veteran drag flick specialist has scored 12 goals from penalty corners in 31 matches this year.
India went into the third quarter with a 1-0 lead.
Australia equalised through Trent Mitton's 36th minute field goal which was his his first successful strike of the series. It was horrible defending by Rupinder Pal Singh, who lost the ball in the attacking third. Mitton was quick to pounce on the gift and ran through the 'Dee' to beat goalkeeper Harjot Singh easily.
But Rupinder made up for his folly six minutes later when he gave India the lead again. The score read 2-1 as Rupinder converted a penalty corner in the 41st minute.
It was Rupinder's 50th career goal. Brilliantly taken with a firm push that was straight and hit the roof of the net. India looking good again.
But just when it looked that India will maintain their lead till time, Mitton once again scored for Australia in the 54th minute to make matters even at 2-2.
But it was Akashdeep who found the net in the final few seconds to give India a 3-2 win and a chance to win the series in the shoot-out.
But Akashdeep could not show his magic in the shoout-out as he missed his strike and Australia took the series.
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