Australia v England, 1st ODI, Melbourne January 12, 2014

Warner's reprieve was 'wrong' - Cook

Alastair Cook called the decision to reprieve David Warner from a caught behind decision "wrong" after England began the one-day series with a heavy defeat at the MCG but he is not convinced that returning to a time when a fielder's word was taken is the way forward.

Warner was on 22 when he tried to steer Ben Stokes down to third man and top edged towards the wicketkeeper Jos Buttler who claimed the catch low to the ground.

Warner was happy to take Buttler's word on whether it carried, but the umpire convened to check the replays, which appeared on the big screen as Warner approached the boundary, where he was told to stay inside the playing area by the fourth official.

As so often with those types of replays, the two-dimensional image created enough doubt in the third umpire's mind for him to not give the catch although that was not how Cook felt it should have ended.

"It might have been my biased eyes, my English eyes, but I thought it was a clean catch - hit his fingers and bounced up - but I only saw it a couple of times on the big screen," he said. "I thought it was the wrong decision but you have to respect the umpires' decision otherwise you get in trouble."

On the field, all the players reacted calmly to the situation and Warner gave Buttler a supportive pat on the back as he returned to the crease. It is easy for the fielder to be made out to be the villain but for most of the ex-cricketers at the ground it was one of those they were convinced was caught cleanly.

Cook, though, believes TV replays still need to be used. "If a player does claim and it clearly shows it wasn't a catch then it's a tough one and looks foolish on the technology. David thought it had carried as well as he was quite happy to walk off. It's strange because a lot of those look worse on TV than real life. But that one, I didn't see it hit the ground."

While the umpires' decision was out of England's hands, they could have avoided some self-inflicted errors especially the life given to Aaron Finch on 8 when Gary Ballance dropped a simple chance at mid-off. Cook admitted it was the continuation of a worrying trend in the team, coupled as it was with numerous fumbles in the outfield.

"It is something we are aware of we. We haven't fielded to the standard we are capable of on this tour. Fielding comes down to two things; wanting the ball to come to you and hard work. We are not bad fielders. For the last three or months - actually it's been longer than that - we are dropping too many chances and we are aware of that. We can't keep gifting simple chances away."

To add to Cook's woes, he had another brief stay in the middle, falling in the first over of the match when he edged Clint McKay, and admitted he needs to return to making significant contributions. He said he felt as good as he had at any time in the tour during his morning net, although conceded form there means "bugger all" if it doesn't bring runs.

Another defeat will be followed by another flight, this time to Canberra to face the Prime Minister's XI on Tuesday before England head to Brisbane for Friday's ODI, with an upturn in England's fortunes seemingly no nearer.

"We just need to somehow stop the rot and it's amazing how quickly it can turn around," he said. "We saw some good things today but at the crucial moments couldn't take our chances."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo