Paceman Steven Finn said England are "very happy with where we are" after limiting South Africa to 262-7 on the first day of the final Test at Lord's.
Finn's three wickets in seven balls helped reduce the tourists to 54-4, but they fought back thanks to Jacques Rudolph (42), JP Duminy (61) and Vernon Philander (46no).
"We bowled beautifully in the first session and made use of the conditions," said Finn, who ended the day with 3-68 to complement James Anderson's 3-58.
"As the day went on and the sun came out, the ball got a bit softer and the wicket didn't do as much, but I thought we stuck to our guns really well. Hopefully we can wrap up this innings tomorrow."
Although England were asked to field first, Finn said skipper Andrew Strauss, playing his 100th Test, may have opted for first use of conditions had he won the toss.
"To be honest, I think we would have bowled first," he said.
"I enjoy bowling first at Lord's. Straussy said at the toss it was a good toss to lose, and it gave us the opportunity to make inroads.
"The wicket was a bit tacky this morning which meant it nipped around a lot.
"As the days go on and the sun bakes it, there could be some assistance for Swanny [off-spinner Graeme Swann] so it could be an interesting game."
Meanwhile, Duminy, who shared stands of 58 and 72 with Rudolph and Philander for the sixth and seventh wickets respectively, set his sights on a first-innings total above 300.
"We'd like to get to 300 if we can; anything above that will be a bonus," he said.
"It was a decent enough batting wicket, there was probably a bit more in it than Headingley and The Oval, and they were always going to come at us as they need to win this game.
"Session one didn't go our way, but we were pretty happy with the way sessions two and three went for us.
"England are probably more on top than we are, but we were happy with the fighting spirit we showed."