THE NATIONAL players displayed their best game in Ipoh to date but still went down 1-0 to Great Britain in the Azlan Shah Cup yesterday.
Malaysia started more convincingly than the previous two matches, as there was more commitment and desire in their game.
But Britain had the lions share in the first quarter, and experienced goalkeeper S. Kumar had to use every trick in his book to keep a clean record in the first quarter.
The only excitement for the Malaysian fans was when Razie Rahim's penalty corner attempt in the 14th minute was padded away by goalkeeper Harry Gibson.
Britain defended and only relied on counters in the second quarter and it worked as they won a penalty stroke in the 26th and Alan Forsyth sent Kumar in the wrong direction for the lead.
And Britain held on to the slim lead going into half-time, even though they were placed under tremendous pressure by a rejuvenated Malaysia.
Malaysia missed many sitters for the next 30 minutes, and Britain stole the three points on nine lives.
National coach Stephen van Huizen felt it was a drawn game, as the penalty stroke awarded to Britain was dubious.
"For those who watches the replays (on TV) would know what I am talking about, but then there was video referral and they felt it was a stroke and that's the end of it.
"However, we could have done better in attack when we had the numbers on counter, but failed. Overall its a good show from my players against a team which is in the same group with us in the World League (Semi-finals) in London."
Britain coach Zak Jones counted his blessings.
"We blew hot and cold while Malaysia really pressed us hard but my players could keep pace with them and now we only have 'a few hours of rest' before playing Australia."
World No 2 Australia edged closer to a 10th Azlan Shah title when they beat India 3-1.
India took the lead, but Australia kept the pressure to win comfortably and will play Britain today where a win should see them playing in the final.
Australia coach Colin Batch said: "We started off slow but regrouped in the second quarter and I think we had a good game overall against India.
"In this kind of heat it’s always difficult to give a 100 per cent on the field and the same goes to India."
RESULTS: India 1 Australia 3, New Zealand 3 Japan 2, Malaysia 0 Britain 1.
WEDNESDAY: Japan v India (4pm), Britain v Australia (6pm), Malaysia v New Zealand (8.30pm).
THURSDAY: REST DAY
P W D L F A Pts
AUSTRALIA 3 2 1 0 10 3 7
BRITAIN 3 2 1 0 8 5 7
INDIA 3 1 1 1 6 5 4
N ZEALAND 3 1 1 1 4 6 4
JAPAN 3 0 1 2 6 9 1
MALAYSIA 3 0 1 2 2 8 1