Kookaburras sweep Test series versus India with 3-2 win

The Kookaburras have again underlined their Olympic credentials by completing their impressive five-Test sweep of the series against India with a 3-2 victory at the Perth International Festival of Hockey.

With their overall 5-0 series triumph, Aran Zalewski's men have now won 12 of their 13 matches in 2024 as they continue to look like genuine hopes to become only the second Australian men's side ever to strike Olympic gold.

Against the world's No.5 side India in their last home game before the Paris Games, they had to come from behind again on Saturday before lifting the Perth Cup with another strong win following on from their previous victories - 5-1, 4-2, 2-1 and 3-1 - over a highly successful week.

Another packed stand at the Perth Hockey Stadium watched penalty corner ace Jeremy Hayward slam home his seventh goal of the week while Ky Willott and Tim Brand also found the target for the Olympic silver medallists. 

Not for the first time in the series, the visitors started well with their superstar Harmanpreet Singh opening the scoring within five minutes as they looked determined to land their first win on Australian soil. 

But Hayward struck in the 20th minute from a penalty corner to bring the scores level by halftime and the Kookaburras surged away in the third quarter with a double strike in the space of two minutes from Willott and Brand, who bagged the 49th goal of his international career.

"I think we're the fittest team in the world and I can say that confidently. We run over teams in the end, so it's very pleasing. Even when we go one-nil down, we stick together," said Willott of the Australians' end-game power which was only dented by Singh Boby Dhami's late consolation.

"Coming back from those deficits, I think it's it holds us in really good stead going forward," added NSW's Lachlan Sharp.

"You can see on the field we're really enjoying ourselves and I think it's really showing. We're mates off the field, mates on the field, we've got each other's back so I think that really drives our confidence."

"Confidence is key for any team so I think we're really showing that at the moment."

The world's No.3 side will be hoping to maintain that confidence, going into the next phase of their Paris build-up in the FIH Pro League in Europe next month when they'll face matches with Olympic champs Belgium, Great Britain, Argentina and Germany.

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