Black Sticks draw with India

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 07:55 13/12/2012
hockey landscape
Murray Wilson/Fairfax NZ

DRAWN TEST: Anita Punt flicks a pass under attention from Deep Grace Ekka.

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It took four test matches but India finally got reward from their tour with a 2-all draw with the Black Sticks in the women's international hockey match in Palmerston North.

And had India's finishing been slicker, they might even have snatched a win last night.

The draw halted a run of  three defeats of India by the Black Sticks.

The Kiwis had to rouse themselves from a 2-1 deficit at halftime, the third time they had trailed in the past three tests.

This time it got as far as an equaliser in the 50th minute after a fast break from Charlotte Harrison allowed Sian Fremaux to slot her second goal of the match.

The Kiwis kept turning over the ball and India with their nice passing kept the heat on.

An open goal beckoned momentarily for Anupa Barla near the end but the angle was too acute.

New Zealand coach Mark Hager started with a slightly stronger side including Stacey Michelsen and Anita Punt but kept Katie Glynn in reserve and Charlotte Harrison.

And for most of the first spell the Black Sticks were in good shape.

It was no surprise when the always lively Punt broke from a long way out and Fremaux was on hand to slot in the pass for a classy goal.

Early on New Zealand were in better shape than in yesterday's test and when Glynn came on, the Black Sticks looked more dangerous in the circle.

India though weren't about to capitulate and two goals in five minutes before halftime angered Hager.

The first was from an excellent reverse stick shot from Vandanna Katariya which gave goalie Amelia Gibson no chance and with seconds remaining before halftime, captain Ritu Rani scored from a penalty-corner scramble. 

The road show travels to Wellington for the final two matches in the six-test series on Friday and Saturday.

Scorers: India 2 (Andanna Katariya, Ritu Rani) New Zealand 2 (Sian Fremaux 2) HT 2-1.

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