Both of Sri Lanka's openers scored unbeaten centuries on Saturday as the Cricket World Cup's co-host cruised effortlessly into the semifinals with a crushing 10-wicket victory over England in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
England stuttered to 229-6 on an easy, slow wicket at R. Premadasa Stadium, making batting look difficult. Sri Lanka replied with 231-0 in 39.3 overs, scattering fours and sixes to the delight of the home crowd.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, with 108 not out, and Upul Tharanga, with 102 not out, made striking the ball look easy for batsmen who had the confidence to use their feet.
England's start-stop World Cup campaign ended with a whimper, while 1996 champion Sri Lanka progresses to a semifinal Tuesday against New Zealand.
Dilshan and Tharanga smashed 22 fours and three sixes between them and both suffered cramps and soreness from their lengthy innings played in high heat and humidity. Tharanga needed a runner toward the end of his innings and Dilshan collapsed at the end of the match and was helped from the field.
All of England's bowlers were treated harshly, with spinner Graeme Swann conceding 61 in nine overs.
Having witnessed the hesitant England batting display, Dilshan and Tharanga could have been forgiven for searching for demons in the wicket. But there were none, and even fewer demons among England's bowlers.
Sri Lanka moved to 50 in nine overs and England tried six bowlers in the first 12 overs as the batsmen scored at will, being particularly hard on pace bowlers Tim Bresnan and Chris Tremlett and Swann, all of whom bowled far too wide to present any threat.
Foot movement was the crucial difference between the two teams. England's batsmen rarely middled the ball as they remained planted in the crease, seemingly scared of using their feet to get to the pitch of the ball.
Dilshan and Tharanga, conversely, were constantly stepping down the wicket and using high backlifts to produce shots that were reminiscent of the great West Indies batsmen in their prime.
Spinners James Tredwell and Luke Wright were a little more effective, but the effusive Sri Lankan batting could not be suppressed and the openers moved to 100 in 114 balls.
Dilshan was first to reach his 50 in 57 balls, including five fours and a six, while Tharanga took 70 balls to reach his half century. The 200 came up in the 36th over as the broken England players stood and watched the ball being hammered to the boundary fence.
Dilshan rubbed salt into England wounds at the end, blocking out part of a Swann over to ensure Tharanga could reach his century. Tharanga obliged by smacking a boundary to reach triple figures and the victory target.
By contrast, the English batsmen completely lacked the aggression needed to ensure a match-winning total in the sultry humidity of a Colombo afternoon.
They had few answers to spin-dominated, disciplined bowling. Jonathan Trott crawled to 86 in 115 balls and England was helped by calamitous Sri Lankan fielding.
Eoin Morgan was dropped three times — twice in one from Muttiah Muralitharan — on his way to a 53-ball 50. He also escaped an lbw decision that was there for the taking if Sri Lanka had asked for a review.
Ian Bell was promoted to opener, replacing pinch-hitter Matt Prior, and the experiment did not succeed. Bell reached 25 when he lazily clipped an Angelo Mathews delivery to Thilan Samaraweera at short midwicket.
At 31-2, England was struggling and Trott and Bopara were contained by the spin attack. Disciplined, full-length bowling pinned the England batsmen down for long stretches but they persisted and nudged the scoreboard along.
Trott and Bopara had put on 64 when Muralitharan caught Bopara on the foot with a full toss and he was given out by umpire Simon Taufel. Bopara asked for the decision to be reviewed but replays confirmed Taufel's decision and he was dismissed for 31 in 56 balls.
England took 28 overs to reach 100 and the arrival of Eoin Morgan saw the first boundary in 17 overs. Only five fours were scored in the first 30 overs as England struggled to pierce the Sri Lankan field.
Morgan profited from Sri Lanka's poor catching to join Trott in a 91-run partnership for the fourth wicket, but it was achieved at a snail's pace.
The 38-year-old Muralitharan finished with figures of 2-54 from nine overs and appeared to be limping at the end, but will be desperate to regain fitness with the possibility of retiring from the international arena with a World Cup title for the second time.