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.

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Davis was standing again yesterday 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 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.

‘‘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.