New Delhi :The Indian hockey team had a disappointing start to their four-Test series as they suffered a 0-2 loss against hosts New Zealand in the first match at Nelson here.
Nick Haig (5th minute) and Jared Panchia (27th) sounded the board for New Zealand even as the Indians drew a blank.
The game started in great space as both teams got into business immediately. But it was New Zealand’s early goal which helped them take the edge over India and allowed them to register the win.
The first quarter started with a brisk pace with both the team looking at dominating ball possession. It was the Kiwis who went ahead in the 5th minute when they were awarded a penalty corner and Nick Haig flicked the ball on the top right corner of the goal to give New Zealand the 1-0 lead.
Team India intensified the attack with Nikkin Thimmaih from right flank pushed the ball inside the opponent circle but a vigilant New Zealand defence denied any scoring chance. The score line remained 1-0 in favour of New Zealand at the end of first quarter.
India held possession at the start of the second quarter and attacked the New Zealand circle from the right flank. Akashdeep Singh pushed the ball to Ramandeep Singh who failed to capitalise on the pass.
In the 27th minute, it was New Zealand’s counter attack which helped Jared Panchia to score through a field effort, taking the score to 2-0 in their favour.
While India trailed but they were seen attacking and looking at opening their score. Unable to add any goals, the second half ended with India trailing 0-2.
The third and fourth quarter saw both the teams trying to add to the scorecard but the defence of both the teams proved stronger in thwarting all attempts.
Third quarter saw Nikkin Thimmaiah entering the D with a clear intent of finding the nets. But the Kiwi defence held him back and India were yet again denied a goal.
This was immediately followed by Birendra Lakra trying to cash in on an opportunity but was denied by the Kiwi goalie.
India will now play the hosts in the second game of the tour at Nelson tomorrow.