Paul Collingwood rediscovered his form to revive England's hopes of levelling the npower Test series against South Africa at Edgbaston.
Durham's Collingwood, recalled for this match after being axed at Headingley, struck his sixth Test hundred, reaching his landmark in emphatic fashion with a straight six off Paul Harris.
His unbeaten 101 took England to 297 for six by the close on the third evening, an overall lead of 214.
Prior to this innings, the 32-year-old had managed only 96 first-class runs all summer but he responded to the crisis of effectively being 21 for four with an emphatic innings.
He shared 115 in 23 overs with Kevin Pietersen (94) as England, who spent one and a quarter hours this morning finishing off South Africa for 314, scrapped valiantly.
Michael Vaughan's team received a huge double blow, however, as big guns Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff fell in the same over sent down by South Africa spinner Harris.
Their departures drastically altered the mood after Pietersen and Collingwood launched an astonishing counter-attack.
England were reduced to 221 for six after Pietersen was caught in the deep attempting to bring up his hundred, while Flintoff was snapped up at short-leg.
Aggression finally did for Pietersen, however, as he went for the maximum blow to bring up what would have been his 14th Test hundred.
Using his feet to left-armer Harris, he failed to get the necessary elevation and was held at long-on by AB de Villiers to halt a impressive stand.
Moments earlier, Collingwood had the chance to celebrate putting some chronic form behind him when he received a standing ovation from the Birmingham crowd after bringing up his half-century from 61 balls.