Quicks Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje were the stars for South Africa on the Day 1 of the 1st Test at Lords.
Opting to bowl first, Proteas skipper Dean Elgar unleashed a four-prong pace attack led by Rabada, who returned to the side after an injury layoff, under overcast skies
As a result, England finished with a disappointing 116-6.
However, heavy rainy rain forced an early end to the opening day.
South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada once again proved his worth, removing openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley after England had been sent in to bat by Proteas captain Dean Elgar.
Next, Marco Jansen and Anrich Nortje followed up by capturing the prized wickets of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.
Nortje showed a lot of heart and the his ball that got Bairstow was outstanding.
After two expensive overs, he sent Jonny Bairstow back on his way with one that angled in to beat Bairstow’s bat and take out the stumps.
All four dismissed batsmen were out in single figures as England slumped to 55-4.
Skipper Ben Stokes stepped up to offer Pope company and the stand appeared to put England back in the game until Nortje struck a second time, with the score at 100 for 5.
Stokes and Pope put on 45 runs for the 5th wicket.
Nortje, one of eight South Africans playing their first Test in England, grabbed three wickets, including the scalp of home captain Ben Stokes.
Only Ollie Pope, with an unbeaten 61, offered prolonged resistance before rain arrived half an hour after lunch, turning into a downpour that left the outfield saturated.
Pope and Stuart Broad (0*) were at the crease when play was called off for the day.
Pope was the best of England batters on show, playing comfortably on the front and back foot, and milking South Africa’s quicks for runs to get to a fine half-century.
England came into the game with a perfect record of four wins from as many Tests under their new leadership pairing of Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.
All of those victories had been achieved by chasing down targets in the fourth innings.
Sadly, that cannot happen in this match after Elgar won the toss and decided to bowl a green-tinged pitch under overcast skies.
South Playing XI:
South Africa: Dean Elgar(c), Sarel Erwee, Keegan Petersen, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne(wk), Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje
England Playing XI:
Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes(c), Ben Foakes(wk), Stuart Broad, Matty Potts, James Anderson, Jack Leach
England 116 for 6 (Pope 61*, Nortje 4-43) vs South Africa