At Johannesburg, March 10, 2003. India won by 183 runs. Toss: Sri Lanka.
Jayasuriya arrived with a bad thumb and a bruised forearm; from the moment he inserted India on a decent pitch, he had a colossal headache as well. Sri Lanka's fast bowlers - Vaas apart - were ill equipped for the task, leaving Tendulkar and Sehwag to put on 153, the third and highest century stand they had shared in ten innings opening together. Tendulkar met Vaas judiciously, Muralitharan introspectively, and regally dismissed the rest from his presence. He fell just short of a hundred for the second time in ten days, but passed 500 runs for the second World Cup running. Sehwag played with a responsibility often lacking before his late blitz ended at longon. India's 292 for six looked insurmountable and, by the fourth over of their reply, a misconceived Sri Lankan batting order had proved as much. Atapattu, Mubarak, a static and inexperienced No. 3, Jayawardene, hopelessly bereft of form, and de Silva all went for nought. When Jayasuriya scooped Srinath to Kaif at cover it told of his handicap. Kaif finished with four catches - a World Cup fielding record - but Srinath's four wickets deservedly won the match award and made all India's labours to tempt him out of retirement worthwhile. India's zest and skill had ensured their place in the semi-finals; Sri Lanka could still get there, but they began to wonder quite how.
Man of the Match: J. Srinath. Attendance: 23,050.