India will surely start as favourites against England in Sunday's final of the ICC Champions Trophy after another commanding display in Cardiff. Man of the match Ishant Sharma is certainly confident as he dismissed the tournament hosts' batting threat after the World Cup holders completed a comfortable semi-final victory over a subdued Sri Lanka to sweep imperiously towards an England showdown at Edgbaston.
India remain unbeaten after four games and, on this form, it is hard to see how any team can halt their inexorable march to the title.
A disciplined bowling unit with seam and spin, Mahendra Dhoni's side also possess the tournament's finest batting partnership in Rohit Sharma and tournament top-scorer Shikhar Dhawan, who struck another 68 runs to steer India to an eight-wicket victory.
"It's a good feeling to reach the final but we won't change anything," said Sharma. "We have been playing good cricket until now so we will stick to our strengths against England. I don't think England are the biggest batting threat we have faced. As a bowler, if you deliver in good areas then no batsman can cope with it."
England may, however, possess the pace attack in Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad to trouble India's openers, but from the moment Dhoni won the toss here at Sophia Gardens, opting to bowl, India were in utter control of the tie.
Sri Lanka's chances of upsetting the form book grew even slimmer when their talisman, Tillakaratne Dilshan, hobbled off injured in only the fifth over. They had already lost Dinesh Chandimal to a groin strain but the loss of Dilshan severely blunted their batting. Sri Lanka struggled to 181, though it looked as though it could have been worse at 41 for 3.
The captain, Angelo Mathews, said: "It was a bad day at the office. First we lost Chandimal, then we lost the toss, which was vital in those conditions, and then to add salt to the wound we lost Dilshan. But we didn't score enough runs and again we have choked against India."
Kumar Sangakkara had tried desperately to ignite the innings with flashes of ambition only to be caught by Suresh Raina – the second slip's third successive victim – as Sharma nipped Sri Lanka's innings in the bud.
Mathews and the prolific Mahela Jayawardene attempted to steady the ship with a partnership of 78 runs. Mathews made a gutsy 51, but once Jayawardene was bowled by the spinner Virat Kohli, the writing was on the wall and Sri Lanka were eventually only able to make 181 off their 50 overs.
Sri Lanka had hoped that with Lasith Malinga leading the attack they might be able to defend such a low total, but even he could not derail India. Rohit Sharma misjudged his attempt to strike Mathews over the top and went for 33. But Dhawan took his tally for this tournament to a majestic 332 to make Sri Lanka pay for dropping him not just once, but twice, on 18.
The first spill was by Mathews, the second by Sangakkara, both off Nuwan Kulasekara. The same bowler then suffered for a third time as the replacement fielder, Sachitra Senanayake, dropped Dhawan, only managing to palm the ball over his head. Dhawan was eventually stumped off Jeevan Mendis.
Raina struck the winning boundary as India cruised past Sri Lanka's tally with 15 overs remaining.
India's captain Dhoni said afterwards: "The conditions were really favourable for the bowlers and they did really well but still there are a few areas we would like to improve before playing England."
Sophia Gardens scoreboard
ODI: India beat Sri Lanka by 8 wickets; India won toss
M D K J Perera c Raina b Kumar 4/0/1/8/9
T M Dilshan not out 18/0/2/21/218
†K C Sangakkara c Raina b I Sharma 17/0/1/44/76
H D R L Thirimanne c Raina b I Sharma 7/0/1/31/49
D P M D Jayawardene b Jadeja 38/0/3/63/83
*A D Mathews c Kumar b Ashwin 51/1/1/89/103
B M A J Mendis st Dhoni b Ashwin 25/0/1/35/50
N L T C Perera c Dhawan b I Sharma 0/0/0/4/3
K M D N Kulasekara b Ashwin 1/0/0/3/3
S L Malinga not out 7/0/1/2/2
Extras (lb2 w11) 13
Total (for 8, 50 overs) 181
Fall 1-6, 2-36, 3-41, 4-119, 5-158, 6-160, 7-164, 8-171.
Did not bat H M R K B Herath.
Bowling B Kumar 9-2-18-1, U T Yadav 8-2-30-0, I Sharma 9-1-33-3, R A Jadeja 10-1-33-1, M S Dhoni 4-0-17-0, R Ashwin 10-1-48-3.
R G Sharma b Mathews 33/0/4/50/78
S Dhawan st Sangakkara b Mendis 68/1/6/92/143
V Kohli not out 58/1/4/64/79
S K Raina not out 7/0/1/4/14
Extras (b1 lb5 w10) 16
Total (for 2, 35 overs) 182
Fall 1-77, 2-142.
Did not bat K D Karthik, *†M S Dhoni, R A Jadeja, R Ashwin, B Kumar, I Sharma, U T Yadav.
Bowling K M D N Kulasekara 10-0-45-0, S L Malinga 8-0-54-0, N L T C Perera 6-0-25-0, A D Mathews 4-0-10-1, H M R K B Herath 4-0-14-0, B M A J Mendis 3-0-28-1.
Umpires Aleem Dar and R A Kettleborough.Reuse content