Any thoughts the Black Sticks women were in for a one-sided hockey series against India were dispatched under the sun in Napier yesterday.
After a 7-3 victory on Saturday there were thoughts the six-test series might turn into a cakewalk for the home side.
But yesterday's 3-1 win showed India to be an improved outfit and it took three second-half goals from the Black Sticks to record their come-from-behind win.
"We had to work hard today," coach Mark Hager said.
"They only arrived on Friday and we may have caught them on the hop in the first game; today they were much better.
"We became a little complacent with the result on Saturday, and they certainly took it to us and put us under pressure."
That is good news for a series that winds its way to Palmerston North on Tuesday and Wednesday, and concludes in Wellington on Friday and Saturday.
Hager was not prepared to single out any of his debutantes for special praise yet. He fielded eight new caps over the weekend with varying outcomes.
On Saturday, Olivia Merry opened her international account with two goals but Cassandra Reid had to leave the field after 10 minutes with a knock that required five stitches.
Then yesterday, Wellington's Aniwaka Roberts was named player of the day and Sian Fremaux got on the scoresheet.
"They have all shown little bits but we'll wait till the end of the series before we make any assumptions," Hager said.
He was disappointed by the "scrappy win" yesterday.
Fremaux, Anita Punt and Charlotte Harrison scored the late goals to keep the winning feeling going.
"Our first half was very poor," Hager said. "In the last 15 minutes we kicked into gear."
Hager will be looking for more consistency from all his players in Palmerston North tomorrow night. Unfortunately, one of his most reliable players, veteran Gemma Flynn, will miss the double header because of a quadricep injury but she may return for the final two tests.
Petrea Webster might be gone for the rest of the series after suffering a suspected broken thumb yesterday.
On a brighter note, a couple of the Olympic Games standouts - Stacey Michelsen and Anita Punt - showed their class at times over the weekend.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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