India met a strong looking Azerbaijan in the second of four-match hockey test series, but managed to eke out a 2-1 victory at Major Dhyan Chand National stadium in Delhi on Monday.
With several players coming from injury, coach C.R. Kumar had to alter his plan and introduce a few changes in the team.
When found unable to revive themselves overnight from injuries, Soundarya Yendala and Jasjeet Kaur were replaced by Ritu and Saba.
Sushila Chanu replaced Kiran Devi, Subhadra Pradhan came in for Pinki Devi and Mukta Barla was brought in at the expense of Ponnamma.
The hosts, ranked 13th in the world, played a fast-paced game and repeatedly attacked their opponent\\\’s citadel from the left flank in the first half. They scored through Ritu Rani (18th minute) and Saba Anjum (41th).
In the 41st minute, India earned their sixth penalty corner and skipper Asunta Lakra took the strike, with Saba Anjum deflecting it inside the post to give the home team a 2-1 lead.
In comparison to India, Azerbaijan could manage just one penalty corner in the 54th minute but squandered the chance.
The third Test between the two sides will be played on Wednesday.
India women\\\’s hockey coach CR Kumar said his girls were more agile and had played better hockey, but admitted penetration was a problem.
"We had good receiving skills and I am happy with the agility and pace of the game, but penetration is a problem. We fared poorly in converting the penalty corners," Kumar said.
The coach also said that the team\\\’s priority is Olympic qualifiers. "We are eyeing this series as trials to pick the team for the Olympic qualifying tournament," he added.
Kumar further said that the players are returning from injury, so they cannot be peaking now. By the qualifier, they should be at their best.
"But I am happy with their receiving and trapping," he added.