Cape Town: Rani Rampal made an impressive comeback to the national side with a goal to her name as Indian women crushed South Africa 5-1 in the first hockey Test of the four-match series here.

Returning to the side for the first time since playing against Belgium in the FIH Women’s Hockey Pro League 2021-22 last June, former captain Rani opened India’s scoring in the 12th minute on Monday night before Monika (20th), Navneet Kaur (24th), Gurjit Kaur (25th) and Sangita Kumari (30th) found the back of net four times in the second quarter to hand India a commanding 5-0 lead at half-time.

South Africa’s lone goal was scored by captain Quanita Bobbs in the 44th minute.

The second match will be played late on Tuesday night.

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Midfielder Vaishnavi Phalke, who led the Indian junior team at the Uniphar U-23 five-nations tournament last year, made her senior debut on Monday.

India started aggressively and pushed South Africa back into their own half early on in the opening quarter. They took the lead through Rani, who converted a penalty corner.

The second quarter started at a high tempo with the Indians looking even more relentless and dangerous.

The visitors dominated the possession and scored four more goals in quick succession with Monika registering her name in the scoreboard in the 20th minute and then four minutes later Navneet made it 3-0 in favour of India, calmly slotting the ball into the goal after a brilliant team move.

A minute later, drag-flicker Gurjit converted a penalty stroke as the South Africans struggled to find their footing in the match.

Just at the stroke of half time, Sangita neatly deflected the ball into the net from a penalty corner.

After the change of ends, India continued to look for more goals but despite constant pressure on the South African defence, the visitors failed to be on target.

South Africa managed to pull a goal back through Bobbs from a penalty corner.

The hosts looked confident and dangerous in the fourth and final quarter but the lead was big enough for India to ensure a comfortable win.

(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)

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