The Bangladesh national hockey team were whitewashed by the visiting second-string India side in the three-match series as they lost the third and final match by 1-3 goals at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishthan turf yesterday.
The hosts, who lost the first match 1-2 and the second 1-5, showed signs of improvement yesterday, especially in defence, as they thwarted a number of Indian attacks throughout the 70 minutes.
Bangladesh coach Naveed Alam, who rested a number of his key players from the starting eleven including Mamunur Rahman Chayan, Krishna Kumar, Hasan Jubayer Niloy, Sheikh Mohammad Nannu and Pushkor Khisha Mimo, said the target of the series was achieved despite losing all three matches.
“We have achieved our target from the series. The first match was for competitiveness, the second one to find out the mistakes and the third one to show the fighting spirit. The boys fought well today,” said Naveed after the match.
The visitors broke the deadlock in the sixth minute through Yuvraj Walmiki, courtesy of a defensive lapse by the hosts. The scoreline remained unchanged in the first half as the visitors failed to capitalise on five penalty corners and a penalty stroke thanks to some excellent saves by Bangladesh goalie Asim Gop, who was later adjudged the man of the match. Bangladesh's young defence, without the experienced Chayan, played better in the second half but conceded the second goal in the 38th minute when Gurjinder Singh converted a penalty corner. Substitute Mimo reduced the arrears in the 56th minute, but India restored the two-goal advantage in the next minute through Vikram Kumar.
“Both the teams have gained from this series. The hosts played with much confidence at the backline, which will stand them in good stead during the Asian Games,” said India coach Tushar Khandaker.
“We could have brought in teams like Chinese Taipei and won the series. But that wouldn't have served the purpose. Despite losing to India, we will gain in confidence and we hope to become champions in the World Hockey League (Round-1),” opined Naveed.
Bangladesh, defending champions of the World Hockey League (Rd-1), will host this year's event in early September before flying out to Incheon, Korea to participate in the Asian Games.