Striker Vandana Katariya scored a brace to help Indian women's hockey team beat hosts Malaysia 3-0 in the opening game of the five-match series here Thursday. Vandana struck in the 17th and 60th minutes before Lalremsiami (38th) scored in the third quarter to hand India the easy win.
It was Malaysia who got a head start with a penalty corner in the third minute of the match, but it was well-saved by an experienced Savita guarding the Indian goalpost. India shook off the initial nerves and young Lalremsiami took a brave shot on goal in the fifth minute but her effort was saved.
Two minutes later, Navneet Kaur attempted a shot on goal but was denied by an alert Malaysian goalkeeper. Soon India got a penalty corner but the resultant try went wide. After a goalless first quarter, India broke the deadlock in the 17th minute when Vandana scored a fine field goal. With a one-goal cushion, India maintained a good structure and controlled the proceedings in the third quarter too.
The Indians kept the Malaysian attack in check and under pressure, the hosts conceded three penalty corners but all the chances went in vain. India doubled their lead in the 38th minute through another field strike by young striker Lalremsiami. The 2-0 lead put India in a comfortable position in the fourth quarter and the visitors increased their lead just seconds from the final hooter through Vandana. The second match of the series will be played on Saturday.
(With Inputs: PTI)