Lankan openers finish off Eng, take side to semis

Published: Sunday, March 27, 2011, 9:54 [IST]
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Colombo, March 26: Sri Lanka's potent opening combination was all that was needed for the home side to romp home in their quarterfinal against England by 10 wickets with 63 balls to spare. Twin, unbeaten tons from Tillakaratne Dilshan (108*) and Upul Tharanga (102*) ensured that Sri Lanka were not going to sweat in chasing down the English total of 229/6 at the R Premadasa Stadium. The visitors' bowlers toiled in vain for a breakthrough throughout the match's second innings, but even their spearhead Graeme Swann went unrewarded, going for an expensive 0/61 off 9 overs.

Lanka thrash Eng, make semis

Indeed, it was smooth sailing for the hosts right from the word "go" with the first boundary of the Sri Lankan innings coming from Tharanga off English paceman Tim Bresnan in the 3rd over, before the batsman followed that shot up with a resounding six off off-spinner Swann in the next.

Then it was Dilshan's turn to turn aggressive, smashing Swann for another four in the 6th over and then going on to knock one boundary off Ravi Bopara in the 8th over and two off speedster Chris Tremlett in the 9th, as Sri Lanka reached 50/0 in 9 overs.

The batting pair kept motoring along with a boundary coming off almost every over till in the 19th over, Tharanga smashed Bresnan for another four to bring up his side's 100.

Nothing was going England's way as in the 26th over, Tharanga was dropped in giving a return catch to Tremlett. Then just two overs later, luck shone on Tharanga again and misfortune blighted Tremlett for once again the bowler put down a return catch as Lanka moved onto 140/0 in 28 overs.

In the 30th over, Dilshan ran a single off Bresnan to bring up Sri Lanka's 150 as the target now seemed well within Lanka's grasp. England's only remaining hope - off-break James Tredwell - then came in for some tap when he was hammered for three fours by the batting duo in the 31st over.

A boundary came off every over after that till in the 35th, Dilshan lofted Swann for a huge six over deep square leg. One and a half overs later, Sri Lanka had crossed 200 and were on the home stretch.

The boundaries kept coming at one per over for the next four as Tharanga struck the winning shot to the fence in the 40th over. Sri Lanka had quashed England's World Cup dream by 10 wickets and with 63 balls to spare.

Oneindia Cricket

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