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England is the country where Twenty20 cricket originated, and if today's apology of a performance in Dambulla is anything to go by, they have already decided that there's no point in expending any energy on the longer version of the shorter game. Their hopeless 119-run drubbing in the first ODI against Sri Lanka provided yet more grist to the mill of those, like myself, who believe that 50-over cricket has run its long and not-incredibly-distinguished course.

Aside from your average Formula One Grand Prix, there can be no sport in which the winners and losers of any given contest are so blatantly telegraphed so far from the chequered flag. And yet, even when Lewis Hamilton is cruising at top speed, there is always the threat of a last-lap blow-out to keep the contest on artificial tenterhooks. At 132 for 6 in the 30th over, however, chasing a dim-and-distant 270, it's time to avert the gaze - even though there may still be enough time remaining in the contest to complete 50 laps at Spa Francochamps.

For the record, England are also useless at 20-over cricket, so this is not a partisan rant. They mustered a solitary victory in the recent tournament in South Africa (and that, let's not forget, came against Zimbabwe). They were routed by Australia and India, and blew promising positions in two of their key games against New Zealand and South Africa. Their ineptitude, or that of any of their fellow international no-hopers, is not the issue in this argument. It's all about the interest engendered by the contests.

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Sobering article indeed! Is the writer correct? What do you think?
 
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