Shane Lowry record-equalling exploits fire him into early Abu Dhabi lead

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Lowry shot an impressive 62 to take the early lead in the UAE capital. (AFP)
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Updated 16 January 2019

Shane Lowry record-equalling exploits fire him into early Abu Dhabi lead

  • Irishman shots 62 to equal course record and take first-round lead on National course.
  • Dustin Johnson one of a number of top golfers trying to chase down Lowry.

LONDON: The first leg of the Desert Swing got under way in Abu Dhabi on Thursday with a star-studded field teeing it up at the National course. Here we look at how the big-names fared…

SHANE LOWRY (-10) — The Irishman has been out of form recently but he reminded how good he is with a record-equalling 62 to lead an impressive field on day one. “I had quite a lot of time off since the World Cup but put in a decent bit of work the last two weeks over here in Dubai and I’ve just gone out with not much expectation but knew I was playing OK and yeah, everything clicked,“the Irishman said.

LEE WESTWOOD (-6) — The Englishman enjoyed a winning end to 2018 and he continued that form in Abu Dhabi, firing an impressive 66 to lie in tied fifth.

IAN POULTER (-6) — The Ryder Cup hero only landed a few hours before his tee time, having flown in from the US, but any jet lag and lack of practice was not noticeable as he fired a brilliant 66. “I felt pretty tired, went to bed, woke up at 6.00am this morning, and actually felt okay,” said Poulter. “But the last sort of five holes was a struggle today. I thought it was a case of let’s go as low as we can as quick as we can and try and hold on.”

BROOKS KOEPKA (-5) — The big-hitting American is trying to wrestle back the world No. 1 ranking from Justin Rose so he will have been overjoyed to start with a blemish-free round of 67. 

MARTIN KAYMER (-5) — The German has fallen to 175 in the world rankings, far too low for someone of his ability. He has won three times in Abu Dhabi and returned to form with a fine 67.

DUSTIN JOHNSON (-3) — The American former world No.1 shot a 69 to lie seven shot back. He will be looking for a lower round today ahed of a title tilt over the weekend.

NOTABLE NAMES — Louis Oosthuizen (-7), Tommy Fleetwood (-3), Henrik Stenson (par), Robert Rock (-1)

Kusal Perera the hero as Sri Lanka pull off stunning run chase to beat South Africa in Durban

Updated 16 February 2019

Kusal Perera the hero as Sri Lanka pull off stunning run chase to beat South Africa in Durban

DURBAN: Sri Lanka pulled off a stunning against-the-odds run chase to beat South Africa by one wicket in the first Test on Saturday as Kusal Perera almost single-handedly won the game with his 153 not out.
Chasing an unlikely 304, Sri Lanka were 226-9 and seemingly out of it. But a last-wicket partnership of 78 between Perera and Vishwa Fernando took the tourists to a thrilling victory on the fourth day.
Perera scored 68 of those 78 runs, but Fernando hung in for 27 balls for his 6 not out to allow Perera to guide the tourists home.
Sri Lanka’s victory gives them a 1-0 lead in the short two-test series and ends South Africa’s run of seven straight home series wins.
Sri Lanka’s 304-9 was the third-highest successful run chase in nearly 100 years of Test cricket at the Kingsmead ground in Durban.
Perera won it with a late cut down to the boundary for four, prompting Sri Lankan players to sprint from the dressing room and out onto the pitch to congratulate their match winner. Perera removed his helmet and thrust both arms up in the air to celebrate one of the best innings ever by a Sri Lankan.
Sri Lanka have lost their last three series and had two debutants and a new captain for the first test, meaning few people gave the inexperienced visiting team a chance against South Africa.