Kookaburras mark Zalewski's big night by crushing India

Aran Zalewski has been left reflecting on an emotional day at the Perth International Festival of Hockey as he marked a landmark appearance for the Kookaburras by overseeing an emphatic 5-1 win against India.

The newly-minted Australia hockey captain, playing his 250th international in front of his friends and family in a stand named after him at the Perth Hockey Stadium, was named man of the match after he inspired his Olympic hopefuls to another promising victory in the first of their five-Test series.

Continuing their recent domination against the Indians, Australia proved far too good with Tom Wickham scoring twice and Tim Brand, Joel Rintala and Flynn Ogilvie also hitting the target.

Andrew Charter wasn't left with much work to do as he became the most capped Australian goalkeeper in history, going past former Hockeyroos star Rachael Lynch by making his 243rd appearance. 

"Before the game, you don't want to think about it too much but it's hard not to get caught up in it," beamed the 33-year-old Zalewski, who had earlier in the week been named the sole Australian captain for the Olympic season and was able to play in front of his wife and daughter in the 'Aran Zalewski Stand'.

"To celebrate it with family and friends here and to have my own stand - I think it'll be the first and only time I have one of those - I'm embracing it and I'm very grateful and loving it," smiled the man known to all as 'Moose' who hails from Bunbury, just an hour's drive away.

"I'm just full of gratitude and joy."

NSW's Brand opened the scoring within three minutes, while Zalewski was involved in the second for Wickham in the second quarter, and two goals in a couple of minutes of the third through Rintala and Wickham effectively sealed the deal.

Gurjant Singh got a consolation for India before Ogilvie made it five three minutes from the end.

Canberra's Charter was left thrilled too. "It's a proud moment for me and a credit to the Kookburras for letting me play for such a long time," said the 37-year-old keeper.

"To do it on such a momentous night out here in Perth - we haven't played in front of a home crowd for a long time - and to tie it together with Aran's 250th is a pretty special moment."

There will be another milestone for the team in Sunday's second match with Matt Dawson set to earn his 200th Kookaburras' cap.

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