Shane Lowry confident he will take some stopping in Abu Dhabi

The Irishman was once again in fine form around the National course in the UAE capital. (AFP)
Updated 17 January 2019
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Shane Lowry confident he will take some stopping in Abu Dhabi

  • Irishman Lowry leads by one shot after gritty round in UAE capital.
  • Westwood and Oosthuizen in hot pursuit at Rolex event.

LONDON: For the second day in a row it was a case of catch me if you can at the
Abu Dhabi Golf Championship as Shane Lowry remained on top of the leaderboard.
The Irishman shot a record-equalling 62 in the first round to make a statement of intent in the UAE capital. He followed that up with a more sedate two-under 70 yesterday to stay out in front on
12-under, a shot ahead of South African duo Louis Oosthuizen and Richard Sterne.
Having made such a great start, Lowry knew he had to keep his concentration and that if he hung in there, he would stay ahead of the rest of the field.
“I’m really happy with that,” the world No.75 said.
“I knew today was going to be a bit of a weird day after shooting such a low score (on Wednesday). 
“I just tried to go out and play like I played. To be honest, right from the start, I really feel like I played pretty well today. I think
I gave myself a lot of chances.
“Some of the shots early on were pretty horrendous. I battled back and hit some really nice shots out there, and hit some in close and made some birdies. I was happy with myself.”
Lowry has had a patchy run of form over the past 12 months, with only three top 10 finishes in 2018. But on the National course he has looked back to his best. Yesterday he showed grit and determination to bounce back from two bogeys in the first three holes. He fired in four birdies over the remaining holes to stay on top of the leaderboard.
And Lowry claimed he is in the sort of form that will make it tough for his rivals to catch him.
“I am happy to be in the lead going into the weekend,” he said.
“My iron play is good and playing the par-3s very well. I am happy with where my game is at and I am looking forward to the weekend.
“This is a huge event and it would be nice to get off to a good start, get some Race to Dubai points on the board and kick on from there.”
If Lowry is to stay ahead of the impressive field and win his first title since the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he will have to hold off the challenge of a revitalized Lee Westwood. The former world No. 1 backed up his opening 66 with a four-under 68 to lie two shots back. The Englishman won the Nedbank Challenge — like the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, one of the eight events that make up the cash-rich Rolex series — in December and has looked close
to his brilliant best over the first two rounds.
A good showing in the UAE will help him get back into the world top 50 and into the Majors, one of Westwood’s aims for the year.
Also showing the sort of form that made him one of the best golfers in the world was Oosthuizen. The former Open champion shot a four-under 68 to lie on 11-under going into the final two rounds, and he is looking forward to trying to chase down Lowry.
“Trying to win any event and going into the weekend really close, it’s always exciting,” the South African world No. 26 said.


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

Updated 16 February 2019
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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.