Colombo: 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.