Three wickets from Nottinghamshire’s Stuart Broad helped England end with honours even against South Africa after an intriguing first day of the second Investec Test at Trent Bridge.
The seamer took 3-47, removing the key top order wickets of Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock, to help peg back the Proteas from 179-2 as they closed on 309-6.
The tourists, 1-0 down in the series after defeat at Lords, won the toss and chose to bat under cloudy Nottingham skies.
They lost Dean Elgar for 6 early on as James Anderson (1-68) claimed his 54th Test wicket on the ground thanks to a spectacular catch by Liam Dawson.
After a brief break for rain, South Africa were 56-1 at lunch before Broad bowled Kuhn for 34 off an inside edge early in the afternoon session.
Amla, who made 78 from 149 balls, and de Kock, 68 from 81, then took command, batting fluently to put on 113 in 24.3 overs for the third wicket.
But Broad returned to induce an edge from left-hander de Kock that was snapped up by Alastair Cook from the first ball after tea and then had Amla caught hooking at deep square leg by Mark Wood.
When Ben Stokes (2-77) had South Africa captain Faf du Plessis strangled down the legside by Jonny Bairstow for 19 and followed it quickly by ousting Temba Bavuma for 20 with the help of another catch by the Yorkshire wicket-keeper, England were well on top at 235-6.
However, Vernon Philander, with 54 not out, and Chris Morris, 23 not out, then dug in with an unbeaten seventh-wicket stand of 74 to ensure a positive end to the day for the tourists going into day two tomorrow.
England keeper Bairstow felt both sides had their moments on the first day and said: “I think it was pretty even, but credit to our bowlers because it could have been heavily in their favour if we hadn’t got those four wickets in the last session.
“While our bowlers bounced back, they also deserve credit for the way they applied themselves having chosen to bat first, going from 70-2 to over 300-6 at the end of the day.
No matter what you do, you have to do it well - and they counteracted the movement without giving a chance until (Dean) Elgar went.
“I thought we could have perhaps done better, but then you’re always going to be looking for little things. There were a couple that dropped short and didn’t go to hand, but they batted well and made the most of it.”