Openers power SL in semi-finals

Colombo, Sri Lanka – Openers Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga powered Sri Lanka to a superb victory by 10 wickets over England in their ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 quarter-final.

Playing on Saturday at the R Premadasa Stadium, the right-handed Dilshan (108 not out) and the left-handed Tharanga (102 not out) both notched up their second centuries in the tournament and with it their second double-hundred opening partnership.

The duo made the 230-run target look easy as they took Sri Lanka home with all their wickets intact and 63 balls to spare. It was the highest score to record a 10-wicket victory in the World Cup beating the 221 made by the West Indies against Pakistan in 1992.

Tharanga had the honour of ending the match with his 12th boundary, and his innings also included a six off 122 balls. Dilshan was sensational and hit 10 boundaries and two mighty sixes off just 115 balls as he attacked England’s bowlers from the start.

Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka skipper said: “The guys fought hard, especially fielding first, and they kept up the pressure. It's been a fantastic crowd, hopefully they have enjoyed the cricket. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves, we just have to keep our heads down.”

In the first half, England got off to a terrible start and were reduced to 31 for two inside nine overs, after England skipper Andrew Strauss won the toss and decided to bat first.

Jonathan Trott rescued England from a poor start to help them post 229-6. Trott (86) added 64 runs for the third wicket with Ravi Bopara (31) and 91 runs for the fourth with Eoin Morgan (50).

The leading bowler for Sri Lanka was ace off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who took 2-54 from nine overs before limping off the field with a troubling hamstring injury. Slow bowler Ajantha Mendis was also in good form with 1-34 from his 10 overs.

The Sri Lankans will now clash with New Zealand in the first semi-final Tuesday at the same venue. The second semi-final will see hosts India facing Pakistan at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Wednesday.