HOCKEY: Australia coach Colin Batch has heaped praise on his players after they fought back twice to down Pakistan 5-3 in a nail-biting final Test at the International Hockey Open in Darwin.
The Kookaburras won the match to wrap up the four-match Test series but Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said his players were made to work hard on Saturday night.
"I think tonight was the best game of the series, Pakistan certainly brought the game alive with their attacking structure which they're renowned for," he said.
"They had a lot of run in their legs which challenged us in deep defence.
"Twice we had to come from behind tonight, so there are some good lessons for us there. We've grown a lot, we've tried some different things and we take all of that forward to Azlan Shah, but I'm very pleased with our progress in these four matches."
Pakistan started the final match of the series in impressive fashion and they were rewarded early when they opened the scoring with a field goal from Abu Mahmood.
The Kookaburras were quick to bounce back with Kiran Arunasalam converting a penalty corner.
Captain Mark Knowles then put the Kookaburras ahead 2-1 with a penalty stroke in the tenth minute but Pakistan shot to a 3-2 lead with goals to Muhammad Umar Bhutta and Abu Mahmood.
The Kookaburras levelled up in the final minute of the first half when Trent Mitton scored a field goal from directly in front.
Australia started to assert their authority in the third quarter and in the 42nd minute Aaron Kleinschmidt knocked in a field goal to give the Kookaburras the lead.
Flynn Ogilvie sealed the win with a late goal following some good lead-up work from Matt Dawson and Josh Pollard.
The Kookaburras will next take part in the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia at the end of the month.
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