Australia, the outstanding team of the tournament, had reached the final with six consecutive wins without conceding a goal until their 7-3 semi- final game against New Zealand.
England, like all of the others, were unable to cope with the sharp shooting from the seven different players who appeared on the score sheet and the speed of their opponents.
England attacks only occasionally showed any sparkle. The consolation goal was scored at their sixth penalty corner 11 minutes from time by Mel Clewlow.
Three Australian goals were at corners. England's defence, which included an exchange of goalkeepers just after half time to give Hilary Rose her only outing of the tournament, had coped with 13 others despite the shrill vocal support from a big squad of young Australian netball players.
England's performance here has shown a marked improvement on that shown in the World Cup when they finished a disappointing ninth.
The return of the experienced Tina Cullen and Mandy Nicholson had added significantly to their performance. England's young players have also shown an improvement on their World Cup form, but the team still relies heavily on the captain Karen Brown and Jane Sixsmith.
Australia took the men's gold medal with a 4-0 win against the host nation, while England eventually overcame stubborn Indian resistance after a penalty shoot-out to take the bronze medal in a game played in front of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Guy Fordham, the Hounslow captain, could not have chosen a better occasion to score his first international goal.
With England trailing to a 16th-minute goal from the Indian wizard of the dribble, Baljit Singh Dhillon, who had completely mesmerised the English defence, England had to wait until the 54th minute for the equaliser.
Fordham, collecting a square pass from Duncan Woods, moved into the circle to crash the ball past the Indian goalkeeper.
Earlier England had seemed surprised by the defensive and disciplined Indians, who only attacked in short bursts and defended with considerable skill and courage.
After the equaliser the game ebbed and flowed from end to end, with neither side able to conjure up a winning goal as the game moved into sudden death extra time.
Wasting four good opportunities for the golden goal, England had to endure a penalty shoot-out.
With David Luckes saving two of India's four strokes and Jon Wyatt, Russell Garcia, Woods and Brett Garrard scoring theirs, England had won their first game against India since their 2-0 victory at Willesden in 1985, with Kulbir Bhaura scoring both goals.
ENGLAND WOMEN: C Reid (Hightown); J Empson (Canterbury), K Brown (capt, Slough), M Clewlow (Canterbury), J Dimson (Olton); L Wright (Olton), K Bowden (Leicester), M Nicholson (Slough); J Sixsmith (Sutton Coldfield), J Smith (Slough), T Cullen (Hightown). Substitutes used: L Newcombe (Clifton), D Marston-Smith (Clifton), K Moore (Olton), F Greenham (Olton), H Rose (unattached).
ENGLAND MEN: D Luckes (East Grinstead); B Garrard (Teddington), J Halls (Cannock), J Wyatt (Reading), B Waugh (capt, Southgate); D Woods (Southgate), R Garcia (Harvestehuder, Hamburg), J Wallis (Teddington); B Sharpe (Cannock), S Head (East Grinstead), M Pearn (Reading). Substitutes used: J Pidcock (Cannock), G Fordham (Hounslow), M Johnson (Cannock), B Crutchley (Cannock).Reuse content