Cricket: England stumped by Steven Finn’s fatal flaw

India clinched the one-day series against England with a game to spare yesterday as Steven Finn was denied a crucial wicket for breaking the stumps in his delivery stride.

Finn’s habit of colliding with the stumps, which has caused much debate among the game’s lawmakers, saw umpire Steve Davis calling dead ball when Suresh Raina was held at slip with India 178-4. At that point India were still 80 short of victory but Raina, 41 at the time, finished unbeaten on 89 to seal a five-wicket win in the 48th over as India amassed 258-5.

The incident overshadowed a fine contest, with Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen each scoring 76 and Joe Root (57 not out) adding a stylish maiden ODI half-century in England’s 257-7.

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India’s response included a gutsy 83 from Rohit Sharma, recalled after a year in the cold, before Raina’s dramatic innings.

England needed to make inroads quickly and Tim Bresnan obliged in the sixth over, finding Gautam Gambhir’s outside edge and providing England’s new wicketkeeper Jos Buttler with a simple catch. Buttler, called up in place of Craig Kieswetter, then hesitated under a top edge from Virat Kohli that eventually landed between him and Bres-nan. By then Pietersen had also dropped Sharma on 12,.

Jade Dernbach, retained despite a poor series to date, shipped 17 runs in his first two overs as Sharma settled into a groove. But James Tredwell continued his superb series by accounting for the dangerous duo of Kohli (26) and Yuvraj Singh (three) in a four-over spell that put England back in the game.

Sharma was the key, reaching 50 in 73 balls and then cutting loose, taking India past 100 with a straight six off Tredwell and sweeping the next ball for four. Sharma’s boundary count reached double figures when he cracked Tredwell past point and Raina laid into the wayward Dernbach as he raced to 30. Sharma’s innings was ended by a dubious lbw decision in favour of Finn, who claimed England’s fourth success at a good time.

It was now or never for England. Finn thought he had seized the moment when Raina nicked to Cook at slip on 41 but celebrations were cut short as Davis signalled dead ball.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni came and went for 19, Dernbach fin-ally getting lucky, leaving India to get 45 in 65 balls. Raina played the role of finisher with aplomb, adding four additional fours and a six off Bresnan. Ravindra Jadeja joined him for the closing overs, finishing 21 not out.

India had started the day by inserting England in helpful conditions. While Cook was able to dig in and fight the England corner, Ian Bell lost patience and fell for 10, aiming a wayward mow at Ishant Sharma. Pietersen took 13 balls to get off the mark and needed 20 more to find the boundary but Cook was releasing the pressure with the regular fours and reached his 50 in 74 deliveries.

Pietersen was slowly getting going too and it needed a risible lbw verdict from Sudhir Asnani to change the game, Ravichandran Ashwin the lucky bowler as Cook was lbw to a ball that pitched well outside leg. A platform of 132 for two was wasted as Eoin Morgan and Samit Patel fell for a combined four runs, each to dreadful strokes, and India kept England to just 19 in the batting powerplay.

Pietersen worked hard for an unflashy 50 before Ishant claimed his middle stump.

Root, dropped on nought by Kohli, was dropped a second time by Raina and finished unbeaten on 57 in 45 balls, while Buttler managed one booming six in a cameo worth 14 in nine balls.