Pakistan goes down fighting 2 3 to New Zealand in First Test


LAHORE, Mar 17 (APP) Pakistan hockey team started its tour of New Zealand on a sad note suffering 2 3 defeat at the hands of the hosts in the first of the five test series at the picturesque National Hockey Stadium of Wellington.
According to information made available here on Friday, the black sticks made the early inroads without looking dangerous. They had the first real chance of the evening in the 9th minute but couldn’t avail it. Irfan Jr’s individual burst earned Pakistan the first penalty corner which was wasted.
Tempo was faster in the second quarter. A fluent right side Pakistan move led to a good opportunity via a goal line cut back but the striker at an ideal position made a terrible attempt.
Soon, New Zealand went ahead with their first PC in the 23rd minute. The goal was netted in by Sam Lane; Pakistani defence was baffled by a slight variation.
The lead was short lived. Within two minute, green shirts equalised via a defensive blunder. An Ali Shan reverse cross from left could not be trapped properly by the defender. Dilber showing fine opportunism, flicked into the goal in a flash of an eye.
Pakistan began well. In the 37th minute, a combined raid yielded two back to back PCs. The high flick went out.
However, New Zealand again went ahead courtesy some sloppy work by the opponent’s back line. Stephen Jenness took his time to get in a position away from the defender in front before slamming the board with a flat tomahawk.
They extended the lead in the last minute of the third quarter. Off the second PC, Cory Bennett strong high flick went to the upper left corner of the net.
If New Zealand were a better side for most of the first 45 minutes, Pakistan held sway in the last 15 minutes. Ball remained mostly in the hosts’ half. The green shirts made it 2 3 off their third PC. Aleem Bilal’s well directed drag landed in the right side of the net. They continued to look for the equaliser but the New Zealand defence stood well.
A fair result on the run of play. Pakistan can take heart from their display in the last quarter.
New Zealand: Sam Lane (PC), Stephen Jenness, Cory Bennett (PC)
Pakistan: Dilber, Aleem Bilal (PC )
The second test will be played tomorrow, Saturday.