Dilshan And Tharanga Knock England Out Of World Cup

Dilshan And Tharanga Knock England Out Of World Cup
Dilshan And Tharanga Knock England Out Of World Cup
©REUTERS/Philip Brown (SRI LANKA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET) Picture Supplied by Action Images

Sri Lanka 231-0 (Dilshan 108no, Tharanga 102no) beat
England 229-6 (Trott 86, Morgan 50) by 10 wickets
ICC Cricket World Cup quarter-final, Colombo
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Sri Lankan openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga both scored unbeaten centuries to help their side pull off a ten-wicket win over England and qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in Colombo.

Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan scored contrasting half-centuries as England posted a score of 229 for six but that proved to be way short of what was required as the home side set up a clash with New Zealand.

In steering Sri Lanka to the most comprehensive of victories in front of a buoyant home crowd, Dilshan and Tharanga scored their 700th run of the tournament in partnership - a new record and they reached their victory target in 39.3 overs - with more than ten to spare.

Both players were in sparkling form and by the end, they were toying with England - Dilshan blocking rank bad balls from Graeme Swann to give Tharanga the chance to reach three figures.

He fully deserved his chance, having used his feet beautifully earlier in his innings to hit boundaries down the ground as England were unable to break through despite opening with Swann and bringing Ravi Bopara in early on.

Chris Tremlett looked the most likely to get a wicket and was perhaps unfortunate not to dismiss Dilshan twice in his first over but once Dilshan emerged from that battle unscathed, his progress was barely checked. He was quick to punish anything short, superb through the covers and also cut England to pieces by hitting ten fours and two sixes.

The more elegant Tharanga stroked 102 in 122 balls, with some deilghtful cover drives but also exhibiting surefootedness against the spinners and ease against the quicks.

He reached his century and won the game in the same instant, gracefully - despite struggling with cramp - driving Tremlett through the covers for his 12th boundary. He also hit one six while Dilshan was unbeaten at the other end on 108 in 115 deliveries.

Earlier, battling stifling heat and disciplined bowling, England overcame a slow start, took advantage of some sloppy fielding before Sri Lanka hit back late on to restrict them to a competitive, if not outstanding score.

Trott made 86 in 115 balls, falling in the penultimate over while Morgan addde much-needed urgency to the innings with a typically inventive and breezy 50 in 55 balls.

He was, however, dropped on no fewer than three occasions - Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath the guilty parties - and could have been given out leg before had Sri Lanka referred an appeal from Lasith Malinga.

He had come to the crease with the score on 95 for three following the dismissal of Bopara, who was trapped in front by Muttiah Muralitharan trying an ill-judged sweep to a full ball. His decision to call for a review was hardly well-judged either and the inevitable decision sent him on his way for a patient 31 in 56 balls.

Bopara, hitting just one boundary, did a necessary job as England's latest opening pair of Andrew Strauss (5) and Ian Bell (25) were unable to get their side off to any sort of start, both men out within nine overs.

Trott stepped up the gears towards the end of his innings, working the ball into the gaps in partnership with Bopara and then feeding off Morgan's energy to accelerate during the batting Power Play. The Power Play, as seems to be the custom, brought wickets, Morgan running out of luck to be caught by Mathews and promoted Swann trapped in front as he tried to reverse hit the first ball he faced from Ajantha Mendis.

Trott fell as he pushed for big runs towards the death, caught in the deep by Mahela Jayawardene off Muralitharan, which left Sussex pair Matthew Prior and Luke Wright to bat out the remaining balls, finishing unbeaten on 22 and one respectively.

Muralitharan, who returned two for 58, left the field ahead of the final over with what appeared to be a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has dogged him throughout the tournament.

Sri Lanka will now meet New Zealand in Colombo on Tuesday.

John Pennington

© Cricket World 2011

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