| GEO Sports|
| Chennai Test: England 229-5 against India on 1st day|
| Updated at: 0051 PST, Friday, December 12, 2008|
CHENNAI: England opener Andrew Strauss hit 123 in the first Test on Thursday as cricket returned to centre stage in India after the Mumbai terror attacks.
The left-hander's 13th century after a first-wicket stand of 118 with Alastair Cook (52) lifted England to 229-5 by stumps on the opening day at the heavily guarded Chidambaram stadium.
Andrew Flintoff was unbeaten on 18 and nightwatchman James Anderson was on
India fought back in the final session with four wickets to end the day with honours even on a barren wicket that is expected to turn later in the match.
The 45,000-seater stadium wore a deserted look as less than 1,000 fans watched the Test start just a fortnight after the Mumbai attacks that left 172 dead and injured more than 300.
England, who abandoned the one-day series and flew home after the attacks, agreed to return for the two-Test series after security checks and a shift in venues.
Kevin Pietersen's men joined the Indian players in wearing black armbands and observing a minute's silence for the victims before play began.
The crowd, which swelled to around 5,000 by afternoon, included International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat and top officials of the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The left-handed pair of Strauss and Cook batted through the first three hours to give England a solid start after Pietersen won the toss and elected to take first strike.
Cook fell soon after reaching his 15th half-century when he miscued a pull off Harbhajan Singh high to mid-on where Zaheer Khan took a well-judged catch.
England, at a commanding 164-1 at tea, slumped to 221-5 soon after the break following a double strike by Zaheer.
The left-arm seamer trapped Ian Bell leg-before for 17 with the second delivery after tea and then took a return catch as Pietersen (four) top-edged a hook high into the air.
India earned a lucky break soon after when Paul Collingwood (nine) was declared caught at short-leg off Harbhajan by umpire Billy Bowden. Television replays showed the ball go off the pad.
Strauss finally fell after a dour six-hour vigil at the crease when he was beaten in the air by leg-spinner Amit Mishra and spooned a low return catch to the bowler.