The Hockeyroos have produced a gritty performance to secure a character-filled come from behind 3-2 victory over a vastly improved India at MATE Stadium in Adelaide tonight.
In a night of firsts, Tatum Stewart’s first two international goals either side of Pippa Morgan’s maiden Hockeyroos strike on her 25th birthday in just her second game saw the Australians stave off a resurgent India.
The result gives the Hockeyroos an unassailable two-nil lead in the series ahead of tomorrow’s third and final match.
Captaining the Hockeyroos for the first time, goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram was called upon to make a sharp save low down in the 8th minute as India started aggressively looking to reverse a 4-2 defeat on Thursday night.
India commanded the early exchanges but it was the Hockeyroos who struck first when Stewart rifled a well executed drag flick into the backboard in the 12th minute.
However, the lead lasted barely a minute as Sangita Kumari finished off a sweetly worked team move to score her second goal of the series and draw India level.
The Indians had their tails up and in the 17th minute they went ahead when Gurjit Kaur sent a drag flick into the top corner that gave Bartram no chance.
The Hockeyroos were being forced into uncharacteristic turnovers, however they defended astutely to go into half time just a goal down.
A 38th minute Hockeyroos penalty corner then had the hosts back on level terms when a well rehearsed routine had Morgan expertly deflect the ball into the back of the net.
The goal gave the Hockeyroos a spark as they lifted their urgency and intensity, and just before half time they were rewarded when the umpire signalled a penalty stroke for an infringement in the circle from a penalty corner.
Stewart stepped up and clinically converted the stroke to make it 3-2 and set up a tense final 15 minutes.
India went to a full press and surged forward to try and stay in the series, forcing the inexperienced Hockeyroos to demonstrate all their composure.
A penalty corner with just under four minutes to go gave India a chance, but substitute goalkeeper Zoe Newman made a superb save up high with her left mitt to deny a goal bound drag flick.
Despite some nervous moments in the dying minutes, the Hockeyroos held on to make it two from two and wrap up the series. The final match is tomorrow at 6pm local time (6.30pm AEST).
“It was really exciting, especially as a defender,” said Stewart, who was named Player of the Match.
“When you have opportunities to score on the top of the circle you really have to make the most of them, so it was great to score a couple.”
“India really stuck it to us and we had to grind it out. They were ahead of us and if we chose to get rattled the game may have been different, but we stuck to what we knew we could do and came out on top.”
Hockeyroos 3 (T.Stewart 12’/45’, Morgan 38’)
India 2 (Kumari 13’, Gurjit 17’)
@ MATE Stadium, Adelaide
Hockeyroos: 10.Maddy Fitzpatrick, 12.Greta Hayes, 13.Hattie Shand, 16.Courtney Schonell, 18.Jane Claxton (c), 19.Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 22.Tatum Stewart, 28.Hannah Cullum-Sanders, 33.Alice Arnott, 35.Maddison Brooks, 37.Morgan Gallagher, 40.Pippa Morgan, 41.Zoe Newman (gk), 42.Maddison Smith, 44.Abby Wilson, 46.Olivia Downes, 49.Alana Kavanagh, 51.Aisling Utri