The Vantage Black Sticks Women have secured a series win over India following a 3-2 result in the third test in Pukekohe.
It was a much closer game following on from Tuesday night’s 8-2 blowout, with India putting considerable pressure on the Kiwis.
The final result gives New Zealand an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series with two games still to play on Friday and Saturday in Hamilton.
Head coach for the series Sean Dancer said it was a messy performance but pleasing to come away with a win.
“It was much closer tonight, all credit to India they came out and played well. They were aggressive with everything they did and it made the game tighter and more compact,” he said.
“The frustration for us is the quality of our execution wasn’t there and we made far too many mistakes on the ball.
“We need to sharpen things up for the final two games, with no game tomorrow we have a chance to nut things out and make sure we finish the series on a high.”
India made a solid start to the match and had the Kiwis under pressure early, opening the scoring in the ninth minute when Deep Ekka converted a penalty corner attempt.
New Zealand struck back late in the first quarter after being awarded a stroke for intentional obstruction on Madison Doar in the circle, Ella Gunson calmly slotting home from the spot.
Just minutes later the Black Sticks took their first lead of the match when Stacey Michelsen put a hard shot across the face for Deanna Ritchie to deflect past the keeper.
Down by one goal, India lifted the intensity after the halftime break while both teams continued creating chances but struggled to put them away.
The Black Sticks pulled out to a 3-1 advantage in the 39th minute thanks to a nice play from Shiloh Gloyn who sent a strong reverse shot at goal which deflected into goal off a defender’s stick.
India threatened to mount a late comeback with a field goal from Monika in the 59th minute but New Zealand’s defence held firm.
With the Pukekohe leg of the series now wrapped up, both teams head south to Hamilton for tests four and five on Friday and Saturday at the Gallagher Hockey Centre. Both games will be broadcast live and free on the Vantage Black Sticks Facebook page at 2:00pm (NZT).
Presale tickets for both remaining tests are still available through the Vantage Black Sticks website (www.blacksticks.co.nz)
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VANTAGE BLACK STICKS 3: (Ella Gunson, Deanna Ritchie, Shiloh Gloyn)
INDIA 2: (Deep Ekka, Monika)
Halftime: New Zealand 2-1