26 March 2011
Openers fire Sri Lanka into the semi-finals
Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan took Sri Lanka to the semi-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 defeating England by 10 wickets
Sri Lankan cricketer Tillekeratne Dilshan and teammate Upul Tharanga during their unbeaten partnership of 231.
The pair added its second opening partnership in excess of 200 at the event, to thrill a packed house, and send England’s players on their way home.
Dilshan (108 not out), who reached his century off 107 balls, and Tharanga (102 not out) batted beautifully to seal a surprisingly comfortable victory.
Earlier in the day, England had managed to register what many thought at the interval would be a competitive total of 229-6 off 50 overs on a slow Colombo wicket in hot and humid conditions.
Batting first, after winning the toss, Andrew Strauss struggled early on and was the first batsman to fall after a painful 5 from 19 deliveries. When Bell followed soon after, England was struggling at 31-2.
Once again, Jonathan Trott was the man to rebuild the innings, working the ball around the Premadasa Stadium, adding an important 64-run partnership with Ravi Bopara who made 31.
Eoin Morgan looked to accelerate the pace, although he was fortunate to benefit from a number of fielding errors in a sloppy Sri Lanka fielding display, although he fell shortly after reaching his fifty.
His dismissal was crucial in preventing England register a bigger total and although Trott, who in making 86 became the leading run scorer at the competition, undoubtedly made a vital contribution, neither he or his partners could bat with freedom, although Matt Prior did play a useful cameo as he hit 22 not out off 19 balls.
Early wickets were always going to be important for England defending a low total, but despite signs of spin for Graeme Swann and some bounce and movement for Chris Tremlett they couldn’t get a breakthrough.
Tharanga and Dilshan then grew in confidence, once they had adjusted to the pace of the wicket, and began to unleash a series of attacking shots against a tired looking England attack missing a number of key players through injury.
Dilshan reached his half century from 57 balls, while Tharanga was far more patient as he reached the landmark off seventy deliveries.
Although Andrew Strauss tried to juggle his bowlers, nothing came off for the England skipper, and Sri Lanka had set up an intriguing semi-final clash with New Zealand on Tuesday.
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