Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sri Lanka Vs England :Tharanga & Dilshan Centuries Takes Sri Lanka into World Cup Semi Final

Sri Lanka Won by Quarter Finals by 10th Wickets Against England. Tillakaratne Dilshan 108 runs (115 balls with 10 fours & 2 Sixes) and Upul Tharanga 102 Runs (122 balls 12 fours & 1 Six) are the heros in the Sri lankan Victory. Now Sri Lanka play First Semi Final against New Zealand on 29th March at Colombo. Second Semi Finals will be played between Pakistan & India on 30th March at Mohali

Tillakaratne Dilshan image courtesy Espn Cric info

 Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga set an emphatic seal on Sri Lanka's place in their home semi-final against New Zealand next Tuesday, as England's chaotic World Cup campaign came to an abrupt and anticlimactic end under the floodlights at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Set a testing total of 230 at a venue where successful run-chases have been notoriously thin on the ground, Sri Lanka's openers set about proving that history is bunk as they sauntered to victory by 10 wickets and with a massive 64 balls to spare. After five months on the road for England's cricketers, and six consecutive nail-biters in the group stages of the tournament, they found they had nothing left to give as the first round of knock-out matches was concluded with an utter walloping.

Though several higher scores have been made in this tournament to date, England's total of 229 for 6 ought to have competitive in the conditions. Only eight times in 49 internationals at the venue had a team batting second chased 230 or more for victory, and the most recent occasion came back in 2004. However, Dilshan and Tharanga battled through a tricky start with a flurry of aggression, before settling back into an effortlessly accumulative tempo. For the second time in the campaign, following on from their crushing of Zimbabwe in Pallekele, both men brought up centuries in a massive and indomitable stand.

Full report to follow.

50 overs England 229 for 6 (Trott 86, Morgan 50) v Sri Lanka

Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan turned up the heat on Sri Lanka with a fourth-wicket stand of 91 in 16 overs, only for the batting Powerplay to once again scupper England's momentum, as two nervy sets of players fought for the ascendancy in a gripping quarter-final in Colombo. After winning the toss on a typically spin-friendly surface, England overcame a sluggish start to post a defendable total of 229 for 6, with Trott once again playing the anchor role as he passed 400 runs for the tournament with his fifth fifty in seven innings.

However, their ambitions of a formidable 240-plus total were scuppered by the dismissal of Morgan in the first over of the Powerplay. 

Until he drilled Lasith Malinga to deep cover for a 55-ball 50, he had lived a charmed life, with no fewer than four clear-cut chances going his way - three dropped catches, two of them extraordinarily easy, and an lbw appeal on 29 that would have proved stone-dead on review. His luck, however, ran out at an inopportune moment for England, and when Graeme Swann missed a switch hit to fall for a first-ball duck, England proved incapable of reaching the boundary while the field was up, with just 23 runs coming in the five overs of fielding restrictions, and 56 in the last 10 all told.

Nevertheless, England have runs on the board, and that - according to the ground statistics at least - could be half the battle won. Thirty-six of the 49 completed matches at the Premadasa Stadium have gone to the side batting first, including 14 of the last 18 day-night fixtures, and Trott's performance was that of a man who knew that if he batted through the innings, the runs would materialise somehow. He finished with 86 from 115 balls with just two boundaries, none of which came in the first 30 overs, and eventually fell in pursuit of his third, as he swept Muttiah Muralitharan to deep backward square with nine balls of the innings remaining.

This could yet prove to be the last match of Murali's exceptional career, and he finished with 2 for 54 in nine overs before limping off with an apparent recurrence of his hamstring strain. However, that tally could have been higher but for an extraordinary sequence of events in his eighth over, when Morgan was dropped twice in consecutive deliveries. He had already survived one dolly of an opportunity on 16, when Thilan Samaraweera shelled a leading edge off Ajantha Mendis at point, but Murali couldn't contain his fury when, first, Angelo Mathews at extra cover fluffed a lofted drive, before Rangana Herath dived forward at point but failed to cling on.

In between his let-offs, Morgan produced a typically inventive and energising performance. England had collected a grand total of four boundaries before he came to the middle in the 28th over, but Morgan added that many off his own bat, as he worked the angles in his inimitable style, launching Malinga for a checked drive over extra cover before dabbing three more through third man, two via an open face, and one from a well-timed reverse sweep.

Such riches proved hard to come by at the top of the order, as Sri Lanka's bowlers applied the tightest of tourniquets in the opening exchanges of the contest. Despite enjoying a fine tournament to date, Strauss's ambitions were thwarted from the outset as Sri Lanka opened their bowling with a spinner for the first time in the tournament to date, and he already seemed resigned to ugly heaves through the leg-side when Tillakaratne Dilshan beat him on precisely that shot in the eighth over, to send the captain back for 5 from 19 balls.
At the other end, Ian Bell became Strauss's third opening partner of the campaign, after Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior, and he launched his innings in fine style with a first-ball flick through square leg for four as Malinga strayed onto his pads. Mathews, though several notches slower than Malinga, also provided enough pace to pick the gaps, as Bell added two more boundaries in an attractive and promising 25 from 32 balls. But, just when he seemed set for a big performance, Bell chipped Mathews limply to midwicket, as England struggled to 32 for 2 in the mandatory Powerplay - their lowest total in the tournament to date.

However, Trott's sang froid was well suited to the situation, as he backed himself to work the ones and twos in a boundary-less start to his innings, and at the same time he drew a gutsy response from Ravi Bopara, who was far less comfortable with the tempo, but who knuckled down for an important 31 from 56 balls.

Bopara cut Herath sweetly through point for four early in his stay, but he might have fallen twice in two balls in Herath's next over, as an lbw appeal was deemed to be missing leg (although the decision would have stayed on-field) before Bopara missed a cut that zipped millimetres past his off stump. Herath also had another lbw appeal that was this time sent for a review, before Murali's wiles eventually extracted him on the sweep in the 27th over. Nevertheless, the collective effort has given England's bowlers something to chew on. Another thrilling finale is in prospect. 


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