sport

Cook confused by Finn problem

Alastair Cook admitted that confusion reigns over Steven Finn's costly habit of breaking the stumps in his delivery stride.

Finn's tendency to clatter the timbers at the non-striker's end first became an issue last summer when South Africa captain Graeme Smith complained about being distracted.

Smith found a sympathetic ear in umpire Steve Davis, who declined to give the batsman out when Finn had seemingly dismissed him in the Headingley Test.

Davis was standing again today when Finn had India's match-winner Suresh Raina caught at slip, and the Australian again ruled dead ball.

It was a key moment, with Raina moving from 41 to 89 not out as he led the hosts to a five-wicket win and established an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series

The match officials are understood to have notified England that any further disturbance of the stumps would lead to a dead ball after Finn transgressed twice in the first one-day international, but Cook concedes that information had slipped his attention.

As a result, England were effectively unsure of how Finn's issue would be dealt with when they took the field.

"There was a little bit of confusion," said Cook. "Apparently we had been told that because he knocked them over twice in one of the previous games he was a 'serial offender' and that he was going to get called straight away. In the heat of the moment I think a few of us might have forgotten that. Whether we'd been told that, I wasn't entirely sure.

"At the time I didn't know, but apparently the umps were pretty clear that they had told us that so I must have been deaf when I was listening to them."

While there was no suggestion from Cook that the umpires had failed to fully address the issue with England, he could hardly hide his dissatisfaction at events.

"You've got to clarify these things," he continued. "I couldn't remember the conversation but they're convinced they had it and I'm going to have to take their word for it.

"Bowlers have knocked the stumps off before. It's only because Finny did it a couple of times in that South Africa series that it's happened.

"Finny's bowled 60 balls today and he knocked them off once, so he's probably bowled 61 with the dead ball.

"I know it's a tough job for the umpires but it's obviously frustrating because at that time that wicket would have put us in just a slightly better situation than we were.

"It's obviously frustrating when those little things don't go your way."

The Finn issue was an unfortunate side show in a much-improved England performance. Cook and Kevin Pietersen both scored 76 in conditions highly favourable to the bowling side and Joe Root continued his impressive rise with a fluent 57 not out to see his side to 258 for seven.

Cook was pleased by that effort having been bundled out for 158 and 155 in the previous two matches.

"I'm actually quite pleased with the way we played, we stuck in there with the bat," he said.

"Throughout the first 30-40 overs it nipped around for the seamers. We did have the real tough end of conditions, but we held our nerve, which we had not done in the last two games.

"We can take really good stuff out of it. The last two games we couldn't really do that."

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni paid tribute to his side for closing out the series on a difficult track that may have favoured England, and singled out the recalled Rohit Sharma for praise.

Sharma was outscored by man of the match Raina but his 83, in his first ODI in a year, was vital.

"We all know Rohit is a gifted cricketer and it was a very good performance from him. He is a natural puller of the ball and once he got to his 50, he converted it to a big one.

"The conditions in this series have not been typical subcontinental conditions, except Kochi, so to win has been a good achievement."