Joe Root fell 10 runs short of his double-century before Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali took over with bat and ball to help England retain the upper hand against South Africa at Lord’s.
Sheffield ace Root, who marked his first day as Test captain with a century and resumed on 184, could only add six more runs before Morne Morkel had him caught behind pushing forward.
Root began day two of this Investec series with the most evident chance of a piece of history as he sought to become the first batsman to make two double-centuries at the home of cricket.
Instead it was Moeen who joined exalted company as he completed an all-round double of 100 Test wickets and 2,000 runs.
Moeen topped the 2,000 on his way to 87 in the morning session before taking his 99th wicket before tea and then his 100th straight afterwards.
That made him only the seventh player from his country and second-quickest behind Tony Greig to reach the elite benchmark. For good measure, he became the only man to round up the statistics in each column on the same day.
Moeen and Broad - who already had the same double in safe keeping - were both in the runs and wickets to help England retain the upper hand.
That came after Morkel ended Root’s six-and-a-quarter-hour stay – featuring 27 fours and a six from 234 balls – having him caught behind pushing forward.
Root’s stand with Moeen was worth 177 - putting England in an advantageous position, considering they were 17 for two when their new captain first took guard.
Broad (57no) and Moeen bolstered England’s total despite a fightback from Morkel (four for 115) and Kagiso Rabada (three for 123), the off-spinner posted his century of wickets by first of all turning one sharply to trap Hashim Amla lbw and then having Dean Elgar (54) caught at short-leg.
Theunis de Bruyn, who fell just two short of a maiden Test 50 in his second match, and Temba Bavuma responded admirably with a stand of 99 in South Africa’s 214 for five at stumps.
Morkel doubled up with the wickets of Root and Liam Dawson – lbw for a second-ball duck in his second Test – before Moeen and Broad took over.
Broad’s crowd-pleasing turn was a 45-ball 50 which he completed with successive pulled sixes off Morkel to add to his seven fours as he and James Anderson compounded South Africa’s frustrations in an entertaining 10th-wicket stand of 45 from just 27 deliveries.
Elgar and Heino Kuhn negotiated four overs before lunch in which the former had one scare, when a direct hit from Dawson at mid-on would have run him out for only two.
Instead, it was Kuhn who went for just a single on his belated Test debut when he edged Broad low to first slip.
Elgar was unperturbed, refused to let Dawson settle when Root first turned to spin, and reached his half-century from 90 balls by angling Ben Stokes down to third man for his eighth four.
But Moeen did for Amla and Elgar, and then Broad made it two wickets each when he had JP Duminy lbw to one that moved back up the slope.
Mark Wood was millimetres from a first Test wicket on his return after his ankle injuries, De Bruyn surviving on 31 via the most tenuous of umpire’s calls at the start of a new spell.
Otherwise, though, the fifth-wicket pair were largely untroubled as South Africa dug in to stay competitive - until Anderson was rewarded late in the day when he got one in the perfect spot and De Bruyn was caught behind off a thin edge.