Jonathan Trott’s battling 86 helped England set Sri Lanka 230 to win their Cricket World Cup quarterfinal.
England, which won the toss and elected to bat, was restricted to 229-6 as Sri Lanka, playing on its home Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, frustrated England by deploying four spinners on a slow batting surface. The winner will meet New Zealand in three days.
England captain Andrew Strauss was the first to fall when he was bowled by Tillakaratne Dilshan following an attempted swipe over the infield. He was followed in the next over by opening partner Ian Bell, who reached 25 before flicking Angelo Mathews straight into the hands of Thilan Samaraweera.
Sri Lanka, to the delight of the majority of the sellout 36,000 crowd, kept the pressure up, rarely allowing England scoring shots. It took England 16 overs to reach 50 as Ravi Bopara and Trott endured the same struggle to pierce the field as the pair they replaced.
Bopara had 31 when he missed an attempted sweep off Muttiah Muralitharan. He failed to overturn umpire Simon Taufel’s leg before wicket decision as a video review confirmed the ball would have hit middle stump.
Trott reached his 50 in 71 balls, hitting just one boundary in an innings built on snatching quick runs rather than big shots. That came after Sri Lanka had given Eoin Morgan the first of three reprieves. The Irishman was on 17 when Samaraweera dropped a simple catch, allowing Morgan to combine with Trott for 50 off 48 balls. Muralitharan then raged at his teammates when they dropped Morgan twice in consecutive balls.
Mathews fumbled a catch in the deep before Rangana Herath felled a chance square of the wicket. Morgan wasn’t given a fourth escape. Moments after completing his half century he lofted Lasith Malinga to Mathews.
Graeme Swann fell to a first ball lbw trying a reverse sweep against Ajantha Mendis. The double blow ended England’s chances of a big finish and despite Matt Prior’s quickfire 22, England failed to breach 236, the stadium’s average score for a team batting first in one day international. Trott was last to go, caught by Mahela Jaywardene off Muralitharan.
The victor will move on to the April 2 final in Mumbai against either India or Pakistan, who meet in Mohali, India on May 30.