Patience is the key for England
Alviro Petersen leaves the field after being dismissed for a career-best 182
England must follow the example set by Hashim Amla at The Oval and Alviro Petersen in the first innings here at Headingley, to bat their way back into the second Investec Test
The hosts at last shifted Petersen after almost nine hours, for a career-best 182 from 365 balls, in South Africa's 419 all out on day two in Leeds.
Then came their own turn to try to bat big and long - and Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook made an acceptable start with an unbroken stand of 48, in trying circumstances against a heavyweight new-ball attack.
Petersen, and JP Duminy with an unbeaten 48, made England wait two more sessions on Friday before they could start their reply. Even after Stuart Broad (three for 96) had the opener caught-behind, Rod Tucker's initial not-out verdict overturned on DRS, England allowed the last three South Africa wickets to add 66.
With South Africa starting on 262 for five, Petersen and Jacques Rudolph's stand of 59 had required plenty of hard work in the morning - after James Anderson and Broad started the day with six consecutive maidens - with Petersen also surviving an lbw decision thanks to DRS.
Part-timer Kevin Pietersen turned only his second delivery sharply and won a marginal third-umpire stumping decision to end Rudolph's 74-ball vigil on 19 runs and provide England's overdue breakthrough.
There was little doubt nonetheless that Petersen had ensured South Africa's advantage in a pivotal session, but he lasted only six overs of the next, before Broad found his outside edge pushing forward in defence.
Petersen's great virtue was not the way he used the middle, as in a collection of commanding pulls among his 23 fours whenever England dropped short. His skills also included a refusal to be undermined by imperfections, determination to stay put and patience to wait for mistakes from tiring bowlers.
Strauss and Cook knew too that they still had to provide a solid platform - a point proven by triple-centurion Amla, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis in the 637 for two declared at The Oval. So it was that England's openers rightly took few chances as Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and finally Jacques Kallis all threatened.
Strauss and Cook were parted on nought and then two, in England's Oval misadventures, but redoubled their efforts here to defy South Africa - and increasingly awkward conditions - before bad light and rain brought an early close after just 18 overs of the home innings.