Monday, October 19, 2009


Australia are hell bent on winning all the matches in the Test Series with Malaysia. But the hosts are contend with just performing well, ironing the chinks in the amour, akin to being prepared to lose the battle but not the war that will unfold in New Zealand on November 7.

This was the conclusions one could draw up after the post match interview from the observations made by coaches Ric Charlesworth and Tai Beng Hai after the First Test Match ended in a 3-1 win by the Aussies.

To be honest Malaysia were disorientated, lacked cohesiveness, and above all were impotent in attack, to sum it all up in one line.

The team lacked character and the defence was porous, so much so that at certain times it was akin to a knife slicing through butter that had been left on the breakfast table for a couple of hours.

Beng Hai would not come out and admit it, but no matter how many times he says that the players selected were the best, he must be kicking himself for letting Ismail Abu leave the squad, no thanks to a misdemenour that could have been dealt with better had there been an effort from those who spotted him at a so called gaming outlet.

The fact that Malaysia had a pathetic solitary penalty corner to show in the entire 70 minutes speaks volumes that they lack someone in the calibere of Ismail. The strikeforce was unimaginative and though they ran rings around the Aussie defence, it was akin to a headless chicken with no sense of direction.

"We played well in patches but overall I am satisfied with the performance. Of course there are areas that need to be improved but we are playing high level matches after a long break," said Beng Hai.

"The forwards should have been more imaginative to create penalty corners and we could have been tighter in defence.

"Still its better to lose the battle as the results here are not important as it is the war in New Zealand that we need to win. So I will not be worried if we do not win as our priority is in the qualifiers."

Charlesworth was diplomatic in his assessment of the Malaysian team.

"We expected a tough match and the Malaysians played to form. Though we may have won but it was not easy, infact I expect close contest in all matches," said Charlesworth.

"However we have every intention to win all the Test matches and we take the field with one intention, to win each time we step onto the pitch.

"If it is any consolation to Malaysia, 10 of the players in the team played in the qualifiers in New Zealand."

But what Charlesworth omitted from saying was that nine of his first team players that assured Australia a place in the World Cup were not in the squad of 21 that are here in Malaysia.

And that fact was confirmed by skipper Liam De Young who said that Australia fielded many reserves in the match in August when Malaysia defeated the Aussis 1-0, the first win since the Azlan Shah Cup win recorded in 1994.

Malaysia played without S.Kumar, Kelvinder Singh and Jivan Mohan, all three been given extended leave to celebrate Deepavali.

And it was Khairunisam Ibrahim in goal that benefited most from Kumar's absence as he gave a solid performance in between the posts and could not be faulted for the Aussies goals. Infact had it not been for Khairunisam's heroics, Malaysia could well have been hammered in the very first half itself as he pulled off stunning saves to keep the scoreline respectable.

Charlesworth gave three players a senior international debut, Matt Ghodes, Jonathon Charlesworth and Matthew Swann, and they performed well.

Australia took the lead in the 16th minute when they converted their first penalty corner via Glen Turner who deflected a drag flick by Mathew Butturini. Although Malaysia drew level in the 32nd minute via S.Selvaraju, that was all they had to show for the match.

Australia went into a 2-1 lead in the 49th minute via David Guest who deflects an attempt by Butturini and sealed their win through Glen Turner who scored a field goal in the 65th minute.

The two teams will square off in the second match on Tuesday at 6.00pm and Australia are expected to make major changes to the starting XI.

"Players which were not in the list today can expect to see action in the match tomorrow,"said Charlesworth.

"These matches are vital to all players as it will give me an indication as to who is ready to shoulder the burden at the Champions Trophy and the World Cup."

Australia: Liam D’Young, Simon Orchard, Glen Turner, Jason Wilson, Matthew Butturini, David Guest, Joel Carroll, Matt Gohdes, Ian Burcher, Jonathon Charlesworth, Matthew Swann, Glen Simpson, Nathan Burgers, Brent Dancer, Mark Paterson, Fergus Kavanagh.

Malaysia: Khairulnizam Ibrahim, S. Baljit Singh, Mohamed Amin Rahim, Mohamed Marhan Mohamed Jalil, S. Selvaraju, Mohd Madzli Ikmar, Faisal Saari, Mohamed Shahrun Nabil, Mohd Shukri Mutalib, Azlan Misron, Jiwa Mohan, Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, Mohd Noor Khairul Azrain, C. Baljit Singh, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Nabil FiqriMohd Nor.