& # 39; Legend & # 39; Too much malinga for England


The veteran Paceman took four to 43 as Sri Lanka, defending a seemingly modest total of 232-9, beat England by 20 races to open the race for the semifinals.

England, who had previously played for the World Cup, would have been at the top of the 10-team table with a win in Headingley.

But instead they suffered their second group stage defeat after an equally astonishing loss of 14 races to Pakistan.

Malinga's team saw him become the fourth player to lead 50 wickets in the World Cup after Glenn McGrath, Muttiah Muralitharan and Wasim Akram.

And equally important for Sri Lanka on Friday, the 35-year-old, famous for his unorthodox action of "slinging", gave punches.

Malinga, who briefly returned home early in the tournament after his mother-in-law's death, shook England early in his pursuit when he had Jonny Bairstow as a golden duck.

England then saw Malinga have the open-end James Vince, who was caught in the bank.

Malinga had Joe Root in jail form by 57 in the review and Jos Buttler dropped 10 by 10 to a trademark Yorker.

Ben Stokes attempted to take the game away from Sri Lanka – now just two points from third-placed England – with an impressive unbeaten 82, just to keep the wickets from falling on the other side.

"We know how strong Ben Stokes is, he's got two or three limits, but we're still bowling," Malinga said.

"We adhere to our basic plan – line and length, without loose balls and add some variations and securities."

Meanwhile, Buttler said that Malinga remained as clumsy to face as ever.

"He's just different – no matter how you see him, he's different," Buttler insisted.

"The stumps are always in play with him, with his release point if he hits the line, it is usually close (the batter being out).

"We did not face him as well as we could have today, but we credited a fantastic player."

Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne praised Malinga and veteran teammate Angelo Mathews, whose help did not help him recover from a three-by-two collapse.

"Lasith is a legend," said Karunaratne. "He keeps doing what he knows, that's the main thing, the basics. He did a great job.

"It looked like a wicket of 300, we thought it was a good and flat wicket. But when we play in the first places, it gets slower and slower."

As for Mathews, the captain said, "Angelo, fit, he knows how to play his role. He's a good runner-up and did a good job."

Sri Lanka – who have now beaten England in four consecutive World Cups – will play in South Africa in Durham for a week on Friday and Malinga said: "We want to maintain momentum and confidence in other games."


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