South Africa, as expected, are moving towards a first-innings lead but England may well consider they have not done too badly to restrict the tourists to a fairly modest rate of progress here, as well as claiming a couple of wickets.
Nonetheless, they will still face more questions over team selection after a session in which captain Michael Vaughan cannot have avoided the thought that a fourth fast bowling option might have come in rather handy.
He and Peter Moores gave that up, of course, when they decided that Paul Collingwood, essentially, was too good a bloke to leave out of the side for a second match in a row, dumped Stuart Broad and junked the idea of recalling Steve Harmison, to the great surprise of their opponents.
This slow Edgbaston pitch might not be an ideal one for the Ashington Express but he was hungry to play here and would at least have given the South Africans something different to think about - and taken some of the workload off the three front-line seamers who are on duty here.
Ironically, it is the one whose fitness has been the summer's big concern who has looked the most resilient. Andrew Flintoff, showing no signs of problems with ankles or side strains, has been England's most consistently dangerous bowler and deservedly claimed the big wicket when Neil McKenzie was leg before, particularly after seeing him reprieved on 29 this morning and dropped on 57 this afternoon.
On the other hand, James Anderson has offered up a wildly mixed package typical, sadly, of his least effective days, while Ryan Sidebottom looks like he is still suffering with the bad back that ruled him out at Leeds.
Anderson did, though, take a blinding caught and bowled in short extra cover's position after Hashim Amla's inside edge ballooned off another of those super-springy pads.
Poor old Collingwood's misery continues. It was he who dropped McKenzie at second slip - a routine one by his standards. And when Vaughan asked him, after 47 overs, to be England's Jacques Kallis, you really felt for him.
"You're only in for your bowling," chanted some unsupportive England fans. Maybe not. Of the 12 innocuous balls he sent down, three went for four and Vaughan had seen enough to turn to Monty instead.Reuse content