Harmanpreet Singh converted two penalty corners while man-of-the-match Lalit Upadhyay and Cinglensana Kangujam struck one goal apiece for the Indians, whose last title came in 2007.
"We have part-time players who assembled just before the Asia Cup because they had to study and work".
INDIA hammered Japan 5-1 to keep a strong grip of Group A in the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Wednesday. Harmanpreet scored his second goal to make it 5-1 in India's favour.
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India, playing its first tournament under new coach Marijne Sjoerd, got off the blocks in the third minute when S.V. Sunil, after a fine one-two with Akashdeep Singh, pushed the ball into an open net. Last edition's runner-up India, led by midfielder Manpreet Singh, will be eyeing a flawless start to their campaign in Pool A which also features arch-rivals Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh.
Pool B, meanwhile, consists of defending champions Korea, Malaysia, China and minnows Oman. "The team is upbeat and ready for the first challenge", he said on the eve of the tournament opener. He played a forward pass to SV Sunil, who then went past the goalkeeper before scoring.
But the Indians can ill-afford to take Japan lightly as the Japanese have shown in the past that they have the ability to play fast-paced hockey with good attacks, making them an unpredictable team. India and Japan were level 1-1 after the end of first quarter. The eight-team tournament, which will decide the Asian top side, also serves as the qualifying round for World Cup 2018 as it gives its champion a direct spot for the marquee event. India will now play on Friday against hosts Bangladesh before taking on Pakistan on Sunday.