England restrict Sri Lanka to 128-6

GROS ISLET, Saint Lucia: England made a fine start in the World Twenty20 semi-final as they held Sri Lanka to 128 for six at the Beausejour Stadium here on Thursday.

Only Angelo Mathews, with a maiden Twenty20 international fifty to follow his 46 in Sri Lanka''s five-wicket win over India that saw the side into the last four, offered much resistance.

Mathews made 58 off 45 balls with a six and three fours before he was run out off the penultimate ball.

The next best score was 16, achieved by both captain Kumar Sangakkara, who won the toss, and Chamara Kapugedera.

Paceman Stuart Broad led the attack with two wickets for 21 runs off his four permitted overs.

Sri Lanka, last year''s losing finalists, collapsed to 26 for three against England''s pace trio of Tim Bresnan, Ryan Sidebottom and Broad.

Spinners Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy then ensured runs remained hard to come by with a combined eight overs that cost just 41 runs.

Sri Lanka were seven for one at the start of the second over when left-arm quick Sidebottom removed Sanath Jayasuriya for just one after the veteran fended outside off stump at a good length ball and edged straight to England captain Paul Collingwood at second slip.

New batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan on nine then miscued a hook off Bresnan and was well caught by a diving Luke Wright, running in from deep backward square leg, to leave Sri Lanka 20 for two at the end of the third over.

Sri Lanka''s collapse continued when Broad, as Sidebottom had done, took a wicket first ball.

Mahela Jayawardene, the tournament''s leading scorer with 302 runs, including a century against Zimbabwe, fell for just 10 when he edged a well pitched up ball outside off stump and was caught by wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter.

Sangakkara couldn''t break free, lofting off-spinner Swann to Kevin Pietersen, back in the side after returning from the birth of his son in London, running round from long-off as the ball held up in the breeze.

Now it was down to Mathews and Chamara Kapugedera, the batting stars against India, to see Sri Lanka to a competitive total.

Mathews drove Swann high over long-on for the only six of the innings and, next over, Kapudegera drove left-armer Yardy straight back over the bowler''s head for a boundary.

Boundaries though were becoming rare events as Broad and Sidebottom varied their pace, with the slow bouncer employed to good effect.

Kapugedera, whose last-ball six saw Sri Lanka beat India, holed out for 16 made off a slow 27 balls when he drove Broad straight to Bresnan at mid-off.

The winners of this match will play either defending champions Pakistan or Australia, who meet here on Friday, in Sunday''s final in Barbados.