NOTTINGHAM (Reuters) - South Africa built on a slow start on the first morning of the second test at Trent Bridge on Friday in reaching 56 for one at lunch on either side of a short break for rain.
Dean Elgar went cheaply but Heino Kuhn stood firm despite taking two painful blows and struck seven fours in his unbeaten 34 from the session's 23 overs.
Returning captain Faf du Plessis, who missed the tourists' defeat by 211 runs in the first test, had said that deciding to bat first after winning the toss was "a tricky decision" because of the cloud cover.
In favourable conditions for seamers England captain Joe Root, who took over from Alastair Cook for the Lord's match, said he would have bowled first anyway.
He gave his four pacemen a chance in the first 15 overs and Jimmy Anderson made the early breakthrough.
He had Dean Elgar brilliantly caught at backward point by a diving Liam Dawson for six, making him the first man to take test 300 wickets in England.
Anderson has frequently enjoyed Trent Bridge, where he took 7 for 43 against New Zealand in 2008 and 11 wickets against Pakistan two years later.
He continued to trouble the batsmen before making way for Ben Stokes, who was slightly more wayward.
At the other end Stuart Broad and Mark Wood both caused problems for Kuhn, the other opener, who was hit on the hand and then the back of the helmet.
He was given some respite with a 20-minute break for rain at 42 for one in the 19th over, after new batsman Hashim Amla had passed 8,000 test runs with a well struck boundary.
From the second ball after the resumption Amla comfortably survived an optimistic review from a ball by Stokes that pitched outside the line and then took an inside edge.
At lunch he was not out on 16.
Reporting by Steve Tongue