The Indian hockey team made a disappointing start to their campaign in the final leg of their European tour, losing 3-5 to the Netherlands in the first Test of the two-match series in Amstelveen.
The Dutch toyed with the Indians in the opening half, pumping in five goals at the Wagener Stadium here late last night before the visitors made a failed comeback bid with three goals.
For Holland, Timme Hoyng (second minute), Teun de Nooijer (fourth), Taeke Taekema (17th and 25th) and Rogier Hoffman (32nd minute) were the goal-getters, while Sardar Singh (40th) and Prabhjot Singh (60th and 69th minute) scored the consolations for India.
Holland began crisply and shook the Indian defence with two early strikes within the first four minutes of the match.
Floris Evers intercepted a short pass from Teun de Nooijer before setting up Hoyng, who dodged past India skipper Sandeep Singh and beat goalkeeper Adrian D'souza with a powerful volley to give Holland the lead in the second minute.
As if the early jolt was not enough, the Indians were in for another setback when Teun de Nooijer, playing his 400th international for Holland, pushed home from close range after a goalmouth melee two minutes later.
However, India came back strongly and earned a penalty corner shortly when Tushar Khandker was body checked, but Sandeep's dragflick was saved by Dutch custodian Gus Vogels.
Thereafter, the visitors lost two more chances to restore parity but on both occasions Rajpal Singh faltered -- first from a Khandker cross and then from Shivendra Singh's.
After the opportunities went begging, the Dutch inflicted further misery on India by tripling their lead in the 17th minute from their first penalty corner after Vikram Pillay committed a foul inside the circle.
Home boy and veteran dragflick specialist Taeke Taekema made no mistake and sent the ball high into the right of India goalkeeper D'souza.
The hosts continued their onslaught as a shaky Indian defence was unable to block the leakage and conceded the fourth goal with Taekema converting another penalty corner in the 25th minute.
Rogier Hoffman added to the tally in the 32nd minute as Holland went into the breather with a comfortable 5-0 lead.
However, the change of ends saw a rejuvenated Indian side and five minutes into the second half, the visitors pulled one back when Sardar Singh got past three Dutch defenders and beat Vogels with an angular forehand shot.
From there on India continued to dominate the proceedings but as luck would have it they failed to find the net. In the last 10 minutes, Prabhjot infused some life into the match through two field goals -- first in the 60th from Khandekar's pass and then a minute before the hooter from a Rajpal cross.
India will play the second Test tomorrow to round off their European tour.