England's Samuel Ward, (in mask) vies for the ball with India's Hardik Singh, right, during pool B hockey match between India and England at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, Sunday, July 31, 2022 | Photo: AP
Birmingham: Indian men's hockey team played out a thrilling 4-4 draw against England in Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham after the opposition made a stunning comeback in the final quarter of the match on Monday.
India took a solid 4-1 lead in the match with Mandeep Singh (13', 22') scoring a brace and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (3') and Harmanpreet Singh (46') scoring a goal each as well. But with Nicholas Bandurak (47', 53') scoring a brace, and Liam Ansell (42') and Phillip Roper (50') scoring a goal each, England managed to hold India and earned a point from the match to maintain their top position in Pool B table.
India got off to a brisk start with Hardik Singh charging from the left flank soon after the starting whistle to put England on the back foot. Minutes later, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay earned the first Penalty Corner for India, and he scored from the rebound to give his team an early lead.
The young Vivek Sagar Prasad brilliantly came to India's defence after England earned a Penalty Corner of their own. With minutes left on the clock in the first quarter, Hardik Singh launched a brilliant counter-attack, as he sent the ball to Mandeep Singh inside the striking circle. Mandeep struck a powerful tomahawk into the nets as India extended their lead to 2-0.
Vivek Sagar Prasad and Hardik Singh continued to press deep on the left flank at the start of the second quarter. Sam Ward created pressure on the Indian defence from the right flank, as he tried to cross the ball to William Calnan inside the circle. But Krishan B Pathak stepped forward to close the angle and made a smart save. Minutes later, Mandeep Singh created another goal for India with an outstanding move inside the circle as India extended their lead to 3-0. England's Christopher Griffiths took a shot on target, but could only find the sidebar, and India went to the halftime break with a 3-0 lead.
As the second half kicked off, England started holding on to ball possession as they searched for an opening inside the Indian circle. But India continued to defend in numbers, not allowing the opposition any opportunity to get a shot on target. Mandeep Singh continued to be the target man inside the circle as Gurjant Singh tried to find him to create an opportunity, only to be stopped midway by England's defence. Liam Ansell managed to get the ball into the nets before the end of the third quarter as England got themselves on the board.
Gaining confidence from the late goal scored in third quarter, England started pressing deep in the final 15 minutes to try and further reduce the deficit. But a costly error in defence from England earned India another Penalty Corner, and Harmanpreet Singh converted it with ease to increase India's lead to 4-1.
England's Nicholas Bandurak scored a minute later to reduce the gap to 4-2. Phillip Roper broke through Indian defence and hit the ball past goalkeeper Krishan B Pathak as England added another goal to the board. Nicholas Bandurak converted yet again from a counter-attack as England drew level, with minutes left on the clock. India faced some nervy moments with England building pressure but managed to hold on till the final whistle as the match ended in a 4-4 draw.
India will next face off against Canada in Pool B match on August 3.