England eked out three wickets on an even second morning of the second Test at Kingsmead.
Graeme Swann (three for 72) was responsible for two of the breakthroughs in dreary conditions as South Africa nonetheless made handy progress from 175 for five to 284 for eight.
After finishing a shortened opening day on a high with a rush of three quick wickets, the tourists had obvious designs on more swift gains as play got under way half an hour early to make up lost time, but with the floodlights in action under heavy cloud cover, overnight pair Mark Boucher and AB de Villiers shared a stand of 63.
The South Africans took advantage of a pitch which provided little for the old ball, and England appeared to slot into a waiting game until the second new one was available.
Their lines and lengths were not quite as reliable as they had been on Saturday, though, and Boucher and De Villiers missed few opportunities.
There were a series of half-chances through the morning which England might possibly have taken, but nothing clear-cut and deserving of significant self-reproach. Perhaps the most telling was when De Villiers pushed a single off Swann on 18, just past short-leg Alastair Cook on the full.
England finally registered their first decision review system success of the series, however, when Swann broke the sixth-wicket stand with a delivery which turned enough in to Boucher to beat the bat and hit pad.
Umpire Amiesh Saheba had to overturn his original not-out, after plenty of initial deliberation from England over whether to review and then from the third official too.
The cost to the flow of the game was around two and a half minutes, but England certainly were not complaining.
With the new ball unsurprisingly taken immediately, De Villiers comfortably survived a more optimistic DRS lbw call on 46 off James Anderson. He was therefore able to reach his 50 off 96 balls but got no further before Stuart Broad struck with only the second delivery of a new spell.