India suffered an embarrassing defeat to Australia, going down 2-5 in their second outing of the 12th men's hockey World Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium in Delhi on Tuesday night.
Much was expected from both teams after contrasting fortunes in their opening matches. But it was the Aussies who delivered after their surprise loss to England on Day 1 of the tournament. The Indians, on a high after beating Pakistan 4-1 in their tournament opener, were handed a lesson in modern day hockey.
India's poor record against the Aussies continued. They had won only one of six World Cup encounters against the men from Down Under, drawing 1 and losing 4. Their sole World Cup victory against the Aussies was 32 years ago, in 1978, in Buenos Aires, when they won 2-0. The last World Cup encounter between the teams in 2002 resulted in a 4-3 victory for Australia.
The hosts were down by a goal as early as the second minute when Liam De Young dispatched the ball home after it came off the crossbar.
Australia forced their first penalty-corner in the ninth minute as India got a referral wrong and Glenn Turner made no mistake with his flick to make it 2-0.
The Aussies maintained the pressure, repeatedly raiding the Indian citadel from the flanks, and struck again in the 26th minute after De Young and Robert Hammond worked their into the circle and found space for Desmond Abbot to tap the ball past Adrian D'Souza in the Indian goal. D'Souza had, a little earlier, brought off a good save.
India pulled a goal back at the stroke of half-time when Vikram Pillay trapped a long hit from the right and found the roof of the net.
But two goals within two minutes in at the start of the second session put the Aussies high in the saddle and India looked heading for a tennis scoreline defeat.
Luke Doerner made it 4-1 from a penalty-corner in the 42nd minute and Turner got his name again on the score sheet with a field goal a minute later.
Rajpal Singh reduced the margin with a field goal in the 53rd minute after being put in possession by Arjun Halappa.
Five minutes from time, the Aussies could have added to the tally but were denied by goalkeeper D'Souza who saved a penalty stroke from Jaime Dwyer. It was Dwyer's second miss from the spot in the tournament.