Ben Stokes' flair-filled 74 not out tilted day one of the second Test firmly in England's favour despite strong South Africa resistance in Cape Town.
Dominant Stokes plundered four boundaries off the first over with the new ball, bowled by debutant Chris Morris, to give England some late momentum - the tourists closing on 317-5 after scoring 150 runs for the loss of two wickets off 31.4 overs in the final session.
Together with Jonny Bairstow (39no), Stokes added 94 off 115 balls for the sixth wicket after South Africa's attack, shorn of Dale Steyn and Kyle Abbott, limited England to 223-5 despite Alex Hales' maiden Test fifty and solid contributions from Nick Compton (45) and Joe Root (50).
England, who haven't won at Newlands since 1957, picked up from their 241-run first Test win in confident fashion - buoyed at the start of the day by James Anderson's return from a calf injury, with Chris Woakes the bowler to miss out.
Skipper Alastair Cook and Hales were particularly strong through the leg-side as they set the tone with a 55-run opening stand.
It took a superb one-handed slip catch from Morris to break the partnership, Cook caught out on the drive to become Kagiso Rabada's first Test victim on home soil.
Hales and Compton looked to up the run-rate after lunch, the former reaching his maiden Test fifty off 96 balls by snicking Rabada through the vacant third slip area.
In the following over Compton came out of his shell, tickling spinner Dane Piedt around the corner on a bent knee for four and then advancing to straight drive for six.
The pair put on 74 for the second wicket before Hales fell in the first over after the drinks break, edging a fine Morne Morkel delivery for AB de Villiers - having handed over the gloves to Quinton de Kock - to snaffle his 200th Test catch, diving in front of first slip Dean Elgar.
Root might have gone for 13, but Morris was unable to match his earlier athletic exploits in the cordon, and on 23 when he withdrew from a pull shot at the last moment, deflecting a Rabada delivery just out of reach of the on-rushing, diving De Villiers.
Just when it appeared England would make it through to tea for no further loss, Compton pulled Rabada straight to mid-wicket and straight after the resumption James Taylor nicked behind for a first-ball duck.
Root and Stokes regained the momentum with a fifty stand off 70 balls but for the second Test in succession the Yorkshireman couldn't push on, snicking behind on the cut to hand Morris his first Test scalp shortly after bringing up his half-century off 78 balls.
Bairstow, so nearly bowled through the gate by Piedt on 12, played his part in a brisk sixth-wicket stand but it was Stokes who caught the eye.
The all-rounder brought up the 50-run partnership with a supreme on-drive off the first delivery with the new ball from Morris, then posted his sixth half-century with a streaky edge over the slips next ball - getting there off 70 balls.
Two more fours followed in the over and Stokes and Bairstow then plundered a further one each as Morris, lacking zip late on, saw his figures shredded to 1-99 off 22 overs.
Our live coverage of South Africa against England continues on Sky Sports 2 at 8am on Sunday. Before then make sure you catch highlights at 6.30pm on SS2, followed by The Verdict at 7.30pm.