Steve Harmison and Andrew Strauss both made telling contributions ahead of the first Test against New Zealand as England hit back against a strong Select XI in Dunedin.
To press his claims for the opening Test in Hamilton next week, Harmison recovered from a wayward opening day by claiming 5-100 to restrict the Select XI's first innings lead to 140.
Strauss then also continued his push for a Test start when he spent some much-needed time at the crease by making 55 not out as England reached 155-3 at the close to lead by 15 runs.
England's response to a shocking opening day would have pleased Peter Moores, although Christ Tremlett's injury ruling him out of the entire Test series would have been a big blow.
Durham paceman Harmison responded though and after some wayward openers he had Grant Elliott caught behind by wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose.
New batsman Mark Orchard followed with the next delivery to give Harmison the chance of an unexpected hat-trick.
Bevan Griggs survived the hat-trick ball but Mathew Sinclair pushed at Monty Panesar and gave Strauss a catch at first slip three overs later.
With Tremlett out Harmison must surely be guaranteed a Test place next week, but he made sure by grabbing the wickets of Griggs and Jeetan Patel to complete an impressive five-wicket haul.
Panesar completed the home side's demise when he had Mark Gillespie caught at long on to leave England with a deficit of 140 runs.
Captain Michael Vaughan could not find some much-needed form as he could add just 13 to his first innings duck before heading back to the dressing room.
Alastair Cook followed just two overs later but Strauss and Kevin Pietersen combined to steady the ship as both men hit vital half-centuries.
The two put on 90 before Pietersen fell for 53 when he edged behind when trying an aggressive drive off seamer Mark Orchard.
Strauss stood firm though and his 146 minutes at the crease will be invaluable if he is to play in the fiest Test.
Strauss was unbeaten on 55 at the close of play as England's turnaround saw them lead by 15 runs.