Defending champions India [ Images ] produced an inspiring display and scored thrice in the second half to beat archrivals Pakistan 4-2 in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Friday.
They led 1-0 at half-time through Sardar Singh's goal, off a rebound from their second penalty-corner.
In the second half, Mandeep Antil (47th minute), Gurbaj Singh (53rd) and Tushar Khandker (56th) sounded the board for India while Pakistan reduced margin through Mohammad Imran (37th) and Kashif Ali (66th).
Putting behind Thursday's lacklustre showing against China, the Indians dished out an aggressive display throughout the opening half by attacking from both flanks.
Their midfielders moved in tandem, and with rapid inter-positional play and substitutions had the Pakistan defence on its toes.
Rupinder Pal Singh created the first ripple when he drove a fierce hit from the left, but captain Rajpal Singh failed to connect.
Soon Rajpal set up Shivendra Singh in the circle, but the forward was unable to beat Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Shah.
The Indians mounted more attacks but a goal eluded them. Both Sarwanjit Singh and Mandeep Antil deflected over, while Bharat Chikara and Tushar Khandker also fumbled inside the circle.
India did not allow the Pakistan forwards any room to progress into their danger zone as Sardar Singh stood tall with excellent support from Dhananjay Mahadik, Arjun Halappa, Gurbaj Singh and Vikas Pillay.
India got their first penalty-orner when Antil cut in from the left flank only to find Rashid Muhammad's foot.
Mahadhik's flick was padded dangerously, leading to another penalty-corner, and Sardar Singh pushed home from the rebound.
Pakistan earned their first penalty-corner from a stray attack, with Mahadik committing the breach while challenging striker Abdul Haseem Khan. Amir Shahzad, however, wasted the opportunity.
Pakistan came back strongly on resumption in the second half and found the equaliser from a penalty-stroke, conceded by a deliberate obstruction by Rupinder Pal.
The execution by captain Mohammad Imran in the 37th minute had no answer from Indian custodian Sreejesh.
Stung by this reverse, India accelerated the pace, mounting further pressure on the Pakistan defence.
They went ahead again in the 47th minute when Gurbaj set up Antil, whose faint deflection beat the Pakistani custodian.
India's ascendancy continued, as six minutes later they increased the lead, with Gurbaj nailing one from atop the circle.
Tushar Khandker then cashed in to score the fourth goal from a turnover, spearheaded by Shivendra Singh, in the 56th minute.
Pakistan were able to put one past goalkeeper Sreejesh from their second penalty-corner when Kashif Ali found the target.
India now have four points from two outings and next play Asian champions South Korea on Sunday.