Rourkela: India ended on a rousing note the FIH Pro League mini-cluster at Rourkela, beating Australia 4-3 in the sudden death shoot-out on the final day of action at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium here.
It was a highly competitive clash between India and Australia as the two teams played out a 2-2 draw in regulation time to take one point apiece. India then edged Australia in the sudden deaths of the shoot-outs by a 4-3 margin to claim the bonus point.
Through the first five attempts in the shoot-out, the teams stayed level 3-3. With the game heading into sudden death, skipper Harmanpreet Singh, who was adjudged the Player of the Match, scored his second attempt in the shoot-outs giving India the lead, and P.R Sreejesh made his 3rd save of the shoot-outs against Jack Welch to give India the win in the shoot-outs and the bonus point.
India thus claimed 11 out of the 12 points available at home and have now extended their lead at the top of the Pro League table, moving up to 19 points from 8 games.
India got off to a bright start as they won an early penalty corner when a long aerial ball by Harmanpreet nearly found Abhishek but his space was encroached upon by a backpedalling James Collins.
Vivek Sagar Prasad, playing his 100th game, was on target for India as the first flick by Harmanpreet was well run down. Vivek collected the ball, brought it into the circle and unleashed a powerful tomahawk shot perfectly into the bottom right corner of the goal.
The quarter belonged to the hosts as India kept peppering the Australian goal with attacks and nearly doubled their lead through Hardik Singh. As a cross by Sukhjeet evaded Indian and Australian sticks in front of the goal to reach Hardik on the far post, but his reverse flick was off target.