Hockey: India continue winning streak, beat Australia 3-2

Affan Yousuf scored two early goals in the 19th minute to give India an early lead. Later, skipper VR Raghunath scored the winner in the 44th minute.

Affan Yousuf scored twice as India beat Australia 3-2 in the first of two-match series in Melbourne on Tuesday. Indian skipper VR Raghunath also scored for the visitors.

India began on a brilliant note and were in control of the game right from the word go. However, they failed to score the goal in the first quarter as the Aussies too fought back after trailing early in the match.

The tourists got two breakthroughs when Affan Yousuf scored two goals in quick succession. Yousuf, who has shone with the stick in recent times, made no mistake. It is the second phenomenal performance by the 21-year-old forward since he helped India notch a 3-2 win over archrivals Pakistan in the final of Asian Champions Trophy. It was after a long gap of five years that India managed to win the title.

The early goals helped India to end the first half with a 2-0 lead over the hosts. However, the Aussies displayed sheer precision as they scored two quick goals to level the scores. Matthew Willis and Trent Mitton scored for Australia in the 36th and 43rd minute respectively.

Meanwhile, the Indian defenders chose to defend the Australian attack in the second half. however, Raghunath rose to the occasion and scored the winning goal through a penalty corner in the 44th minute to seal the fate.

In the last quarter, India adopted a cautious approach to deny the hosts any chance of levelling the scores and push the match into nervous moments. The second match of the series will be played on Wednesday.