Perth: The Indian men's hockey team's venture at the Lanco International Super Series 9s  ended when it lost the semifinals to Australia with a 4-1 drubbing in their last league match of the here on Saturday.

India will now face Pakistan for the third place match on Sunday. Australia has been on a winning spree, entered the finals majestically and will face New Zealand for the top honors on Sunday.

India needed a win today to make it to the final but fell short in all departments of the game. Australia set the pace early on and went on a scoring spree, while India could reply only once through Sardar Singh.

With just a draw and two loses India finished last in the four-nation event, while with two draws Pakistan came third. Earlier, Pakistan too failed in its endeavor to make it to the finals. It needed a straight win, but the Kiwis denied the side holding it to a 1-1 draw.

Pakistan's sixth-minute goal by Shafqat Rasool was cancelled out six minutes later by Joel Baker. The draw was enough for the Kiwis, who thrashed India on the opening day, to make the cut.

India were left to do the chasing act quite early in the match when twice FIH Player of the year Jamie Dwyer put his side ahead in the second minute itself leaving Indian goalie
PR Sreejesh puzzled.

Australia widened the gap four minutes later, through Russell Ford. The Indians got their act together to some extent after conceding the lead. Medio-turned-attacker Sardar reduced the margin after Gurbaj Singh set him up. Sardar sent in a grounder that whistled past the legs of rival goalie Tristan Clemons.
 
The faster Australians did not let the momentum slip in the second half even as India played sluggish in this phase of the match.

Desmond Abbott all but ended India's chances with an immaculate push towards the goal and then a minute from close, Dwyer scored his second goal.PR Sreejesh, who guarded the cage for the entire match, did well in the first half with neat clearances but he was let down by forwards who did not score.

Young star Yuvraj Walmiki twice missed out on sitters, both supplied by the hard-working Danish Mujtaba.

"There was some misunderstanding in our defence line today, and it proved costly," said Sreejesh.

Indian forward Tushar Khandekar lamented missing many chances saying, "We missed some, and it happens in such a fast game. We played a good first half, and it was not so in the second."

Regarding Sunday's match against Pakistan, Tushar looked confident while saying, “We could not score as many goals we would have liked to against Pakistan yesterday, and I hope we will work hard to improve things for Sunday’s match.”

(Agencies)