Sangakkara talks with Muralitharan during the match between Sri Lanka and England in Colombo.—AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara credited his bowlers for keeping up the pressure on England right from the first ball in the World Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

The Sri Lankans restricted Andrew Strauss's men to 229-6 before cruising to the target in the 40th over for an emphatic 10-wicket victory in the day-night clash at the R. Premadasa stadium.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (108) and Upal Tharanga (102) struck unbeaten centuries to cap a miserable outing for England and book a semi-final at the same venue against New Zealand on Tuesday.

“Losing the toss, it was important we started well with the ball,” said Sangakkara.

“Dilshan did that with the new ball then later came together with Tharanga.”Sangakkara said it was vital that his team did not ease the pressure on England.

“The guys fought hard, especially fielding first, and they kept up the pressure. They ensured that the total was manageable.”The Sri Lankan skipper said his team would not be complacent despite the huge victory.

“It is important to be confident but we should be realistic. They (New Zealand) will be hungry for a place in the final and so are we. Everyday we cannot have such partnerships so we must ensure a good team effort in our next game.”

The only worry for Sri Lanka was an injury to retiring spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan but Sangakkara hoped he would be fit for the last-four match.

“Murali has pulled up a bit stiff but I'm sure he'll be fit for the next game. We have enough cover for everyone. We can't get too far ahead of ourselves, we just have to keep our heads down and feet on the ground.”Strauss admitted his side was thoroughly outplayed.

“We thought the total was 30 light and it was more like 50 light. We didn't get off to a good start. We tried to get some early wickets but did not get any breakthroughs.

“We've been thoroughly beaten by a better side. They were able to bowl a lot of dot balls at us to build pressure. But we have to be honest, we haven't been good enough during the tournament. We cannot hide away from this fact.

“We are very disappointed. We've got to sit down, regroup and come back.”Dilshan, named man of the match, hoped to carry his form into the semis.

“It was a fantastic one-day wicket. It got better and better. We knew if we started well we could build from there. We had a good opening partnership. Tharanga took quite a few chances early on,” he said.

“It was easier batting in the middle overs. Hopefully, I can continue my form in the semi-final. We are playing in home conditions, we have a very good chance of winning.”

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