As spectators filled the famous pavilions of Lord's for the second time this summer, Baz-ball dominated discussions.

Would the English be able to continue their unbeaten record with their fearless - some would say reckless - attack-first style of batting?

In the lead-up to the test, South Africa's stand-in skipper, Dean Elgar, had tried in vain to escape questions about how he would cope with test cricket's latest stratagem.

It was simply accepted that the hosts would be the aggressors and the visitors forced to react to the booming drives of Bairstow and the genius of Root.

Indeed, that was how it had been earlier in the summer, as the hosts dismantled the World Test Championship winners in three straight games and the runners-up in another.

If that was the fate of New Zealand and India, English fans could only dream of what awaited a captain-less, rebuilding South Africa.

Yet, from the first moment of this match, the Proteas defied the narrative and seized control of proceedings. With rain clouds looming on Wednesday morning, Elgar won the toss and put England into bat, denying them the chance to bat second and replicate the chases of the past four matches.

Questions were forming already. Would Baz-ball work in the first innings of a match?

Something of an answer came in just the third over, as Kagiso Rabada used the swing-friendly conditions to overcome an agressive Alex Lees (5). An outswinger after a series of in-swingers induced a rash drive and edge to the keeper. Perhaps this innings called for a slightly different strategy.

One thing was clear, with the blisteringly quick Lungi Ngidi coming from the other end, England were under attack. Visions of spells by Steyn, Philander, Morkel, and even Alan Donald, must've been haunting the English camp. It was no surprise then that the under-fire Crawley (9) fell, his average becoming the lowest ever for an English opener. The hopes of the fans rested with Root, Bairstow and an in-form Ollie Pope.

Yet, this was South Africa's day. First, young left-armer Marco Jansen trapped Root (8) on the pads with a hooping in-swinger.

Then, after a few looseners, Anrich Nortje uprooted Bairstow's (0) middle stump with the fastest wicket-taking ball this year. Despite some trademark flawless drives, even Ben Stokes (20) fell victim to another searing Nortje delivery.

Only Ollie Pope (73) managed to provide any real resistance to a Proteas bowling quartet at the top of their game.

The rain may have prematurely ended play, but the damage had been done. It took less than a session on day two for the English innings to be wrapped up for 165 and for Rabada to get himself onto the honour board with five for 52.

South Africa had seized control of proceedings but an arguably more challenging task awaited. A young, unstable batting lineup without their linchpin in Bavuma, was up against two Lord's masters in Broad and Anderson.

Yet, as with their bowling, the Proteas seemed to have the upper hand. Edges flew off of Elgar's bat, but the only one that carried to the slips was spilt by Crawley.

When an Anderson ball trickled onto his stumps and he was gone for 47, Sarel Erwee took the reins, timing everything to perfection in a delightful 73. Stokes (three for 53) threatened to change the game when some vicious bumpers removed both Erwee and Van der Dussen (19), but the visitors seemed to have an answer to whatever was thrown at them.

In the end, some counter-attacking from Jansen (41) and Maharaj (41) gave South Africa a 173-run lead at the close of play, with three wickets remaining.

England may still go on to win this match. In fact, if they take the final three wickets quickly tomorrow, you'd give their batsmen every chance of amassing a second innings lead on a stabilising pitch.

Nevertheless, the story surrounding the match has changed. South Africa have become the aggressors. Their bowling attack is quickly emerging to be one of the best in the world, and their batsmen showed real spirit in resisting a brutal Ben Stokes spell.

If Baz-ball does go 5-0, it will be the best win of the lot.