IPOH: India struggled to edge Japan 2-1 in their opening match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup at IPOH in Malaysia on Wednesday.
It was a mediocre performance from a team that is preparing for the Rio Olympics.
On the other hand Japan served notice that they were not in Ipoh to make up the numbers.
Japan shocked the Asian champions by taking the lead off their first penalty corner in the 17th minute as Kenji Kitazato send in a pile driver past the static Indian defenders.
But India got their act together and started spreading the Japanese Defence wide.
And their efforts were duly rewarded as Hermanpreet Singh nailed India’s first penalty corner in the 25th minute to draw level.
Skipper Sardar Singh who was largely subdued in the first half scored the second in the 32nd minute to give Indis the lead.
It was a poor display overall by the Indian side as they failed to stamp their class against a team that is rebuilding.