Cricket: England stroll into semi-final

Sri Lanka 104 England 105-1 England win by nine wickets
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England played in the first-ever women's Test match in 1934, against Australia in Brisbane; the Sri Lankan women's team played their first international last month. No surprise, then, that Karen Smithies and company cantered past the rookies from Colombo yesterday, booking a place in the World Cup semi-final with nonchalant ease.

The Punjab Cricket Association's new Mohali Stadium in Chandighar is a splendid arena and it deserved a better contest. On a damp and chilly morning tailor-made for England's seamers, Yorkshire's Clare Taylor and Melissa Reynard beat the bat with one delivery after another.

Both recorded excellent figures, with two wickets apiece; Charlotte Edwards then teased three stumpings out of the tail with a spell of leg-spin that she admitted was unremarkable but, she shrugged, "it was turning a mile".

Sri Lanka were all out for 104 in 43.2 overs and England strolled past that in the 23rd over with Edwards winning her third player of the match award in five games.

Her batting is as full-blooded as her bowling is part-time. She scored 57 not out off 65 balls, including seven fours. "Their seamers made it a bit difficult early on - until I started knocking them about, anyway. But they're enthusiastic," she said. "They'll be a good side in a few years."

Yesterday they were not good. Spirited, yes, but largely inept. With the exception of today's highly promising encounter between India and South Africa in Patna, however, this round of the competition is about clearing out the last of the chaff - a task completed by England well inside the distance, allowing them to start on the long road back to Delhi with daylight to spare.

Assuming New Zealand see off Ireland tomorrow, they will present Engand's bowlers with a tougher test by far in Madras on Boxing Day - though England have to get there first. According to the schedule, they were supposed to fly there tonight. Unfortunately, it seems that nobody has got round to booking them any plane tickets. In the squad's catch phrase, now wearing thin with overuse, "This is India".

Sri Lanka won toss


V Ratnayake c Connor b Taylor 1

H Fernando c Cassar b Taylor 14

R de Silva c Brittin b Reynard 4

V Bowen c Edwards b Connor 38

A Indralatha run out 0

R Fernando lbw b Reynard 1

R Parera st Cassar b Edwards 7

T Gunarathe run out 4

S Sivanathan st Cassar b Edwards 4

T Ekanayake st Cassar b Edwards 0

G Kariyawasam not out 2

Extras (b3, w26) 29

Total (43.2 overs) 104

Fall: 1-3, 2-27, 3-39, 4-46, 5-47, 6-67, 7-82, 8-91, 9-92.

Bowling: Taylor 10-5-17-2; Macleod 5-0-16-0; Reynard 9-5-10-2; Connor 7.2-1-18-1; Smithies 5-0-19-0; Edwards 7-0-21-3.


C Edwards not out 57

H Plimmer c Ekanayake b Indralatha 7

J Brittin not out 24

Extras (lb7, w10) 17

Total (for 1, 22.1 overs) 105

Fall: 1-51.

Did not bat: S Metcalfe, K Smithies, J Cassar, K Leng, M Reynard, C Connor, L Macleod, C Taylor.

Bowling: De Silva 7.1-1-21-0; Kariyawasam 4-1-18-0; Indralatha 4-1-17- 1; R Fernando 1-0-15-0; Sivanathan 3-0-13-0; Gunarathe 3-0-14-0.

Umpires: Jasbir Singh and H Sekham.