India's quest for a Commonwealth Games hockey gold remained unfulfilled as they went down tamely 0-4 to title holders and world champions Australia in the final at the National Hockey Centre, in Glasgow on Sunday.
Even though the two teams are class apart, it was an ideal opportunity for eight-time Olympic champions India to avenge their 0-8 thrashing at the hands of mighty Australia in the 2010 edition of the Games in New Delhi.
But it was not to be as Australia produced a clinical performance and completely dominated the match by scoring two goals in each half to secure their fifth consecutive Commonwealth Games title since the introduction of hockey in the quadrennial event in 1998.
Chris Ciriello (13th minute, 29th, 48th) slammed a hat-trick for Australia, while Eddie Ockenden (51st) scored the final goal of the match from a field effort. Starting as underdogs, there was nothing to lose for the Indian team in the gold medal match against a formidable opponent like Australia, who beat them 4-2 in the group stages.
But the Sardar Singh-led side failed to live up to the tall ask as the Aussies controlled the match from start to finish. The Indians showed glimpses of brilliance with some bright moves but the Aussie defence was too hard to break.
As expected Australia took the lead in the 13th minute when Ciriello struck from their first penalty corner. The Aussies continued their dominance and earned another penalty corner in the 20th minute but with Ciriello out of the turf they failed to convert the chance.
Soon India earned their first and only penalty corner of the match but Kieron Govers made a goalline save to deny VR Raghunath.
Australia continued to put pressure on the Indian defence by mounting persistent attacks which resulted in their third penalty corner and Ciriello once again stepped up to convert the opportunity to double his side's lead.
Trailing by just two goals, the Indians were expected to put up a fightback after the change of ends but it was not to be. The script was the same in the second half as Australia continued their dominance while India's attacks were few and far between.
Australia extended their lead when Ciriello scored his third goal of the day by converting another penalty corner in 48th minute. Three minutes later, Ockenden virtually sealed the gold medal for Australia by tapping in from close range as an onrushing Indian PR Sreejesh failed to make the save.
While Australia and India won the gold and silver respectively, England claimed the bronze medal. England beat New Zealand 4-2 in penalty shootout to win bronze after both the teams were locked 3-3 at the end of regulation 70 minutes.
Incidentally, the bronze is England's first medal in the hockey event at the Commonwealth Games.