Nottingham: South Africa made sure they go to stumps at the end of the second day’s play at a position of advantage, leading England by 205 runs in the second innings with nine wickets in hand.
After bowling out England for 205 in the first innings midway through the final session, South Africa lost the only wicket of opener Heino Kuhn before close of play.
The Proteas were 75 for the loss of one wicket and Hashim Amla and opener Dean Elgar were holding fort.
England suffered a batting collapse in the first innings on either side of the captain Joe Root’s magnificent 78-run innings.
After bowling out South Africa for 335 in the first innings early on the second morning, England were reduced to three for one by Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander before an 83-run stand between Gary Ballance and Root steered the ship and ignited some hope.
But, Philander bowled Ballance for 27 and that ended the partnership which looked like rescuing the hosts.
Root and new batsmen Jonny Bairstow shared a 57-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Morkel ended Root’s gem of an innings when Quinton de Kock caught him behind the stumps.
England had no resistance after that and were bowled out for 205 in the first innings with Chris Morris and spinner Keshav Maharaj picking up three wickets each to clean up the middle order and the tail.
Earlier in the day, James Anderson stung through the South Africa tail picking up four wickets for four runs.
England had taken the second new ball on Friday but overcast conditions on Saturday and with showers predicted, Anderson was merciless in the first session.
South Africa - 335 (Amla 78, de Kock 68, Philander 54, Anderson 5-72) and 75 for 1 (Elgar 38*)
England - 205 (Root 78, Maharaj 3-21, Morris 3-38)
Status - South Africa by 205 runs