Ciriello on target again
The Kookaburras and India shared the spoils in the first of their three-match series in Chhattishgarh on Thursday night as Chris Ciriello’s equaliser cancelled out VR Ragunath’s penalty corner double late on.
Queenslander Dylan Wotherspoon gave Australia’s men a deserved early opener as he found space inside the Indian circle to fire home high from Tom Craig’s defence splitting pass in the ninth minute.
But it was Ragunath’s penalty corner brace either side of half time – one down the middle and one into the bottom left corner – that put India on the verge of victory before Victorian Ciriello’s trademark low drag flick made it 2-2 with two minutes to play.
As he looks to expose some of his younger players to the rigours of top class international hockey, Kookaburras Head Coach Graham Reid admitted that his side struggled to control the match following their bright start.
He said, “It’s a great place to play hockey. It was a great experience, particularly for some of our younger players.
“I thought we started very well, we pressed well but then we didn’t control the ball well enough. Our structure was not compact throughout the match and we turned the ball over too much, which you can’t do against a team like India.
“A more positive aspect was our set plays without the goalkeeper, towards the end of the game, which were pleasing.
“The idea is to get our players used to playing under pressure, for them to learn to absorb it and push through it. Ultimately, the main objective is to get to the end of December and end up with our Olympic squad.”
Glenn Simpson came closest to scoring prior to Ciriello’s late flick as he slid in but narrowly failed to connect with Kiel Brown’s cross from the right.
Winning two more penalty corners, which they failed to convert, India enjoyed the better of the attacking play in the third and fourth quarters before the Kookaburras rallied.
With three minutes remaining Australia withdrew goalkeeper Leon Hayward for an additional outfield player and it paid dividends with the returning Simon Orchard, captain for the day, winning the decisive penalty corner.
Two more Australian corners followed late on but the Kookaburras had to settle for the draw.
The second test is at midnight on Monday morning AEDT, live on Fox Sports 3.
News Source: Hockey Australia
First Test Match:
KOOKABURRAS – 2 (1)
Dylan Wotherspoon 9 (FG), Chris Ciriello 58 (PC)
INDIA – 2 (1)
VR Ragunath 28, 43 (PC, PC)
Kookaburras Squad for Indian Test Series
Athlete (Hometown, State)
Joshua Beltz (Hobart, TAS) 5/2
Kiel Brown (Toowoomba, QLD) 169/6
Tristan Clemons (Bunbury, WA) 26/0
Matthew Dawson (Central Coast, NSW) 25/3
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 136/45
Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW) 17/16
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 78/32
Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW) 179/54
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 128/23
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 64/3
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) [QAS athlete] 15/4
Joel Carroll (Darwin, NT) 103/2
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW) 14/5
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 175/114
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 38/13
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW) 12/5
Leon Hayward (GK) (Darwin, NT) 11/0
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 98/41
Did Not Play – Additional Squad Members
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 64/12
Tim Deavin (Launceston, TAS) 117/6
Kieran Govers (Wollongong, NSW) 108/56
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD) 122/6
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 70/8
India v Kookaburras Fixtures
Monday 23 November – 00:00am AEDT / 9:00pm AWST (Sunday 22 Nov) [Fox Sports 3]
Tuesday 24 November – 00:00am AEDT / 9:00pm AWST (Monday 23 Nov) [Fox Sports 3]