Champions Trophy: India thrash Sri Lanka, to face England in final

Cardiff, June 20 (IANS) India marched into the final of Champions Trophy with a convincing eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second semi-final at the Sophia Gardens here Thursday.

India will take on England, who beat South Africa in the first semi-final, in the summit clash at Birmingham Sunday.

After a delayed start due to a wet outfield, Indian bowlers restricted Sri Lanka to 181 for eight in gloomy conditions. Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin took three wickets apiece.

India cantered to 182 for two in 35 overs with Virat Kohli (58 not out) and Shikhar Dhawan (68) starring with the bat.

Earlier Sri Lanka, put into bat, were immediately put on the backfoot with Kusal Perera edging a Bhuvneshwar Kumar out-swinger to Suresh Raina in second slip.

There was more bad news as Tillakaratne Dilshan limped off the field due to an injury in the fifth over.

Lahiru Thirimanne (7) and Kumar Sangakkara (17) played out the new ball but failed to get the scoreboard going.

When both the batsman fell in quick succession, Sri Lanka found themselves in trouble with the score on 41 for three in 18 overs.

Captain Angelo Mathews (51) and Mahela Jayawardene (38) notched the innings best partnership with a 78-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Both batsman, though, again took their time and left the other batsmen too much to do in the end. Mathews fell with the score on 158 for four in the 46th overs and rest of the tail crumbled under pressure.

Dilshan came out to bat towards the end but did very little with a crooked leg.

India, in reply, had the match in control since the beginning.

Rohit Sharma (33) and Dhawan strung together a 77-run opening wicket partnership and put India in the driving seat.

However, failure to capitalise on starts will be a cause of worry for Rohit Sharma. The right-hander has scored 65, 52, 18 and 33 in his four matches averaging 42.

Dhawan, who is the top run getter in the tournament with 332 runs, once again looked totally at ease. Together with Kohli, the left-hander took India to the brink of victory before being stumped by Sangakkara.

Kohli and Raina (7 not out), who has hardly had a bat in the tournament, added the finishing touches.

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