East London:Alastair Cook made a successful comeback to the England squad on a rain-hit opening day of the touring team's two-day match against a South African Invitation XI at Buffalo Park on Wednesday.
Opening batsman Cook made 66 not out as England reached 142 for three before rain stopped play.
It was Cook's first match since the Twenty20 internationals last month. He left the squad for rehabilitation on a back injury but has been playing with the England emerging squad based in Pretoria while his teammates played a one-day series against South Africa.
The left-handed Cook faced 113 balls and hit ten fours against modest opposition, drawn from South Africa's amateur provincial teams, on a slow pitch.
The tourists suffered two early setbacks when captain Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott were dismissed by left-arm opening bowler Charl Pietersen, who spent two seasons playing county cricket for Northamptonshire in 2005 and 2006. Both were caught behind by South African under-19 wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle.
Pietersen had an opening spell of two for 26 in eight overs. He bowled just two deliveries in a second spell before rain stopped play.
Kevin Pietersen, seeking a return to form after an injury-enforced lay- off, made 25 off 32 balls and shared a third wicket stand of 69 with Cook before he fell to a sharp return catch by medioum-pacer David Wiese.
The match is the first of two two-day games against the Invitation XI before the first Test against South Africa which starts in Centurion next Wednesday.