Wickets for Steven Finn and James Anderson gave England the better of day one at Lord's, as Yohan Blake and Alice Cooper tried to steal the limelight.
Day one, close. South Africa 262/7
Steven Finn's pre-Lunch, three-wicket burst turned the game in England's favour in spectacular and controversial style, as the Middlesex man picked up the triumvirate of Petersen, Amla and Kallis in 13 thrilling deliveries.
J.P. Duminy though, is a pretty handy Test match number seven, and as the pitch flattened out with the ball becoming softer, he forged a fine rearguard stand with Vernon Philander (46*), before he fell late to the new ball for 61.
Three half-century partnerships in succession from the 5th to 7th wicket frustrated England - but will also prove to them that the pitch holds few demons.
Ebb and flow
The unlikely couple - Alice Cooper and Yohan Blake An Olympic champion and a man famous for performing with a snake around his neck made for an eclectic celebrity gathering at Lord's, and while Yohan Blake and Alice Cooper won't have achieved their usual testosterone rush at the sight of Jonathan Trott's medium pacers, there was plenty of quality on display.
Finn had been below par - distracted by dead balls at Headingley, but he was excellent here, getting the ball rolling with two wickets in the same over.
Petersen, who walked, should in truth have stood his ground as his glove appeared to be off the bat when it glanced the leather, but there was no doubt about Amla's dismissal, an almost perfect delivery roaring down the slope between bat and pad and knocking over off stump.
Then went Kallis. The great all-rounder gloved another rising delivery to Prior but, unlike Petersen stood his ground. Prior furiously encouraged Andrew Strauss, enjoying a good morning on his 100th Test after losing the toss, to refer the decision and - despite little evidence on hot spot of a glove - Kallis departed.
England were tight after Lunch, rediscovering their "bowl-dry" philosophy. de Villiers counter attacked with a flurry of boundaries, but when he was restrained by 12 Anderson dots, his patience ran out and the nick was forthcoming.
Things went flat not long afterwards, with Trott in action as early as the 51st over, and the soft dismissal of Rudolph by the tidy Graeme Swann was the only England remaining England reward with the old ball.
Philander in truth batted like a decent number eight as he forged an innings best partnership of 72 for the 7th wicket with Duminy. Anderson - quietly brilliant and unlucky once again - got Duminy with one of his worst balls of the day, a wide loosener which caught the toe of the bat. On another day he would have taken many more.