England batsman Alastair Cook felt the third Test against South Africa had become a "one-innings game" after the second day's play.
The tourists reached the close at Cape Town on 241 for seven after bowling South Africa out for 291 early in the morning session.
Cook, who top-scored with 65 in England's reply, told Sky Sports: "It was a tough day's cricket.
"South Africa bowled well and didn't let us get away from them and it is definitely going to turn into a scrappy game.
"They came out here and bowled less bad bad balls, putting us under some pressure.
"The game situation is set up nicely for a one-innings game come tomorrow. It is going to be a really good game over the next couple of days."
England, with Matt Prior unbeaten on 52 and Graeme Swann five, will now hope to push towards parity on the third morning.
Cook added: "We don't want to be chasing too many but we have seen in recent games pitches don't deteriorate of much as you think they will.
"We will cross that bridge when we come to it but we will hopefully get a lead with Swanny and Matt tomorrow and put them under some pressure when we bowl."
Cook's innings maintained his form after a century in the second Test last week.
The left-handed opener said: "At Durban I got a bit of confidence, scoring a hundred, and I felt confident at the crease.
"I was disappointed with the soft dismissal just after tea but those things happen."
South Africa believe they are in a good position to move towards a series-levelling win, according to Jacques Kallis.
But the all-rounder, who was out for 108 this morning before taking one for 27 this afternoon, insists the Proteas must be at their best to prevail.
"There's no doubt we're going to have to come out tomorrow and be on the top of our game if we want to win," he told Sky Sports.
"We like to believe that it's in our hands, but obviously it is pretty even.
"The ball has controlled the game so far, the new ball's been key, so if we can knock over the England tail tomorrow morning early and get through that new ball, we'll be in a very strong position."
Kallis insists South Africa's display today showed they are back on form.
"The boys put in a better performance today," he added.
"I think we've been under par (in the series) and when you're 1-0 down with two to play you've got to be on the top of your game to win both of them.
"The guys really stood up and put their hands up today."