Jonathan Trott’s stubborn 86 provided the spine as England battled to a seemingly competitive total of 229-6. But Tharanga and Dilshan made quick progress in the run-chase to take the game away from a tired England. Dilshan ended with 108 and Tharanga 102 as Sri Lanka consigned England to only their fifth 10-wicket one-day loss.
This was an even more decisive quarter-final defeat than the one they inflicted on England 15 years ago, when another opener – Sanath Jayasuriya – clubbed 82 from 44 balls to set up a five-wicket win in Faisalabad.
However, in contrast to the 1996 tournament and the subsequent three global events, England can take something positive away from this World Cup.
No opening pairing has performed better at this World Cup than the two Sri Lankans, who added 282 against Zimbabwe in the group stage and were in similarly aggressive mood.
Defeat brought an end to England’s long winter, which peaked with victory over Australia in the Ashes in January but had been in steady decline since and a physically and mentally tired squad were unable to raise their game as the Sri Lankan batsmen drove relentlessly towards the finishing line.