ALASTAIR Cook scored 39 runs for Essex on his return to action following the disappointing winter tour of Australia.

The England Test captain, whose Ashes side were whitewashed and humiliated Down Under, was last at the crease on January 26 – in the fifth one-day international meeting with Australia in Adelaide, which the tourists lost by five runs.

He chalked up 39 runs on that occasion and serendipitously emulated that feat in Cambridge.

Batting for Essex in a warm-up match against Cambridge MCCU, he made 39 off 124 deliveries, including seven fours, before being trapped lbw by Alasdair Pollock.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has made Cook available for Essex’s upcoming four-day LV= County Championship matches against Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Surrey and Leicestershire.

Essex were put into bat by Cambridge with Jaik Mickleburgh opening the batting with Cook and making 25.

Tom Westley made 33 and Greg Smith 11, while another of Essex’s England stars, Ravi Bopara, continued his good form from the World Twenty20 as he enjoyed a fine partnership of 129 with Ben Foakes Foakes was eventually out for 65 while Bopara finished on 63 not out – which included six fours.

Essex will resume on Tuesday on 249 for six.