CHENNAI:Thanks to an unassailable 3-1 lead before going into the fifth and final match, India had the series in pocket but Belgium still salvaged some pride by beating the hosts 3-2 in the hockey test series at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium on Thursday.
The teams shared two goals at the half-time.
Birendra Lakra put India in the lead in the 12th minute before Thomas Birels equalised 10 minutes later.
After Ajitesh Rai's peach of a goal in the 51st minute (2-1), Jerome Dekeyser and Cedric Charlier struck for the visitors to seal the game.
Despite the defeat, coach Joaquim Carvalho was elated with the series win and admitted he would face a pleasant dilemma while picking the squad for Olympic qualifiers in Chile.
"It is definitely going to be a difficult task as all of them in their own way have displayed their strengths," he said.
"Anyway, performance will be the lone criterion for players to get in to the final team," he said.
Dwelling on the series, he said, "It was a good assessment of our players. Though we won the series, I feel the players have to lift their game by a few notches.
"There were a few mistakes and each of the players has been advised on the necessary remedial measures, " he said.
On the positives from the series, Carvalho said the series was a perfect build-up for achieving the goal of earning the Beijing Olympic berth.
"Body language of our players needs to be much sharper. They know that they cannot afford to make any mistake in Olympic Qualifier in Chile. They just cannot be complacent."
Promising youngsters Diwakar Ram, Samir Baxla and Bikash Toppo got a look-in in the series and Carvalho said they quickly adjusted playing along side the seniors and gained confidence.
On today's defeat, the coach insisted his wards were not complacent and praised the visitors for showing aggression both in their attack and defence.
The hosts today created at least three sitters but poor finishing let them down. Roshan Minx squandered two opportunities while Lakra could not cap a joint move by Sunil and Minx.
However, Indians soon took the lead when Lakra sounded the boards off a centre from Sunil, who was fed by Bikash Toppo from the left.