(CNN) -- Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott shared an unbroken 63-run second wicket stand as England made a solid start in reply to South Africa's 418 all out on the second day of the first Test at Centurion on Thursday.
England were 88 for one at the close, with captain Strauss on 44 not out and Trott on 18.
Off-spinner Graeme Swann took five for 110 as England's bowlers were forced to toil under a hot sun for the second successive day.
It took until after tea to work their way through stubborn resistance by South Africa's lower order batsmen.
There was a dramatic start to the England innings when Makhaya Ntini, who led the side on to the field in his 100th Test, was denied a wicket with his fourth delivery.
Alastair Cook edged the first ball he faced to AB de Villiers at third slip, who could not hold a sharp throat-high chance.
Cook made only 15 before he was caught behind off South African new cap Friedel Wet, getting a thin edge to a ball which moved away from the left-hander.
With overnight batsmen Jacques Kallis (120) and JP Duminy (56) failing to add substantially to their scores, South Africa's remaining batsmen opted for caution on a slow pitch.
Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher made 49 off 100 balls and Paul Harris frustrated the English bowlers as he prodded and occasionally punched his way to 38 off 89 deliveries. De Wet defied the bowlers for 67 deliveries before he was last man out for 20.
Kallis added only eight runs to his overnight score of 112 before he edged James Anderson to second slip where Paul Collingwood held his third catch of the innings.
Duminy added 18 before he presented Collingwood with a fourth catch when he edged Swann low to the fielder at a solitary slip. For the second successive day, Swann took a wicket in his first over.
Collingwood equalled the England record of four catches by a fielder in a Test innings, a feat which had been achieved 19 times.