Steven Finn hailed England's spirit as they edged the opening day of their must-win third Investec Test against South Africa.
England's preparations for the Lord's Test, which they must win to level the series and avoid losing their top-ranking, had been overshadowed by the texting row involving Kevin Pietersen.
Finn claimed three morning-session wickets as South Africa were reduced to 54-4 before the tourists fought back to reach 262-7 when bad light forced an early close.
Asked if it was good to finally play after the controversy of the week, Finn told Sky Sports 1: "Yeah. We're 11 guys who just want to go out and play.
"After Monday everything was swept under the carpet. We've got through tough times together, we've done that well in the past and today we showed that again.
"We bowled well. We bowled in partnerships well today. They aren't away from us - they only scored at three an over.
"It would have been nice (to bowl South Africa out) but it is good that we stuck to our guns. No-one got away from us and when the sun is out here it's a good place to bat."
Finn took his three wickets in the space of seven balls before lunch but also admitted to some wayward bowling.
"I maybe got a bit greedy at times which is why I went at four and over," he said.
"But I'm in the team to take wickets.
"It was going to be one of days, they batted well in the sunny periods. We knew when we needed to take our opportunities and in other times play attritional cricket.
"Hopefully it will be overcast in the morning and we'll get the three wickets early and then the sun will come out.
"We will have to bowl well in the morning."
JP Duminy hit a half-century to help his side get back into the game and afterwards hinted the tourists were aggrieved by the Jacques Kallis' decision, where the third umpire had controversially ruled Kallis had gloved behind down the leg-side.
But Duminy insisted they were more focused on trying to lift their total beyond 300 on Friday.
"That's the nature of game. Sometimes you win some, sometimes lose some," he said.
"You just have to get over it.
"We're pretty positive in the way we want to play our cricket. We want to win the game.
"It (300) is probably something we'll aim towards. Hopefully we get more than that."
After reaching 61 Duminy fell to the second new ball when he fanned at a wide delivery from Jimmy Anderson.
"I'm a little bit disappointed in the way I got out," he said.
"I had done the hard work. I thought I had done well until then. It's something I have to work on."