England fell foul of Vernon Philander, with bat and then ball, as their number one Test status hung by a thread against South Africa at Lord's.

Philander consolidated the work of centurion Hashim Amla in the tourists' 351 all out - and then immediately undermined England's hopes of pulling off a record run chase of 346 to share the Investec series, by shifting both openers lbw for only four runs between them.

Captain Andrew Strauss, on his home ground in his 100th Test and 50th in charge, managed just a single before shouldering arms to a delivery that nipped up the slope to follow back Alastair Cook - who at least played a defensive shot but could not cope with Philander's movement off the seam from the pavilion end - to leave England 16 for two at the close.

It was not until Strauss made a double change in the morning that Stuart Broad made short work of nightwatchman Dale Steyn, trying to fend off the latest in a succession of short balls and offering a simple catch off the shoulder of the bat to short-leg.

Steven Finn had bowled Hashim Amla through the gate in the first innings, with one that nipped down the slope; this time he got one to go the other way, beat the defence and hit off-stump to end a stand of 85.

Twelve balls later, he had AB de Villiers too - edging a little extra bounce to slip where Strauss took his 121st catch, the most by any fielder in English Test history.

Finn was not finished either, and before tea had Jacques Rudolph edging behind to Matt Prior.

It took another 17.2 overs in the evening session to end the innings, as JP Duminy and Philander held the hosts up longest in an eighth-wicket stand of 54.

It was an excruciating passage of play, for England supporters, before Philander slapped a James Anderson long-hop straight to point.

An alert piece of stumping by Prior off Graeme Swann then did for Morne Morkel, and Anderson clean-bowled last man Imran Tahir to leave the stoic Duminy unbeaten after 93 balls of defiance. He had contributed only 26 runs, but nonetheless done much to make England's mission improbable even more so.