Graham Thorpe neared a 15th Test century and Andrew Strauss hit 90 as England recovered to 233 for five at stumps on day three of the third Test against the West Indies at Old Trafford on Saturday.
In reply to the tourists' 395 for nine declared England stumbled to 40 for three prior to tea before Strauss and Thorpe (89 not out) put on 177.
Strauss eventually departed, playing Dwayne Bravo on to his stumps, and the 20-year-old Trinidadian struck again late on when Andrew Flintoff (7) was adjudged lbw.
Nightwatchman Matthew Hoggard survived six tricky overs before the close while Thorpe earlier had a lifeline on 58 when Ramnaresh Sarwan dropped a simple looping catch at backward point off slow left armer Dave Mohammed.
West Indies had threatened to take full control for the first time in the series when Marcus Trescothick (0) edged Fidel Edwards to Sarwan in the slips second ball and Robert Key (6) was bowled by Corey Collymore.
The impressive Bravo, playing in his third test, then yorked Michael Vaughan for 12 and finished the day with three for 36.
West Indies resumed day three on 275 for six after Friday's play was washed out.
Wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh played some imaginative shots to amass 68, the highest score in his four Tests, bossing some loose England bowling.
Baugh replaced the injured Ridley Jacobs but even if Jacobs had been fit the 22-year-old was pushing for inclusion after an unbeaten 150 in a tour match against Derbyshire last week.
He fell to the last ball before lunch, trying to flick James Anderson to the on side only to find a leading edge to Vaughan around mid-off.
Pedro Collins was earlier cut under his chin by a fierce Flintoff short ball, forcing him to leave the field.
He was expected to return to the crease after lunch but Brian Lara instead opted to declare just as the England fielders came back out following the break. Collins did not bowl in England's reply after receiving stitches.
Hoggard bowled Collymore (5) with a rare pitched-up England delivery to record four for 83 while Flintoff showed aggression but was a touch short, taking three for 79.
Steve Harmison only managed one wicket, having taken just three in the previous two Tests.
England are 2-0 up in the four-match series, chasing their ninth win in 10 Tests.
West Indies (1st innings): (overnight 275-6)
C.Gayle c Strauss b Hoggard 5
S.Joseph c Thorpe c Harmison 45
R.Sarwan b Flintoff 40
B.Lara b Flintoff 0
S.Chanderpaul c Jones b Hoggard 76
D.Bravo c Jones b Hoggard 77
C.Baugh c Vaughan b Anderson 68
D.Mohammed c Strauss b Flintoff 23
P.Collins not out 19
C.Collymore b Hoggard 5
F.Edwards not out 4.
Extras: (b-9, lb-14, w-6, nb-4) 33.
Total: (for nine wickets, declared 94.3 overs) 395
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-85, 3-97, 4-108, 5-265, 6-266, 7-308, 8-383, 9-395.
Bowling: Hoggard 22-3-83-4 (nb-2, w-1), Harmison 26-5-94-1 (nb-1), Flintoff 20-5-79-3 (nb-1, w-1), Anderson 11.3-1-49-1, Giles 15-0-67-0
England (1st innings):
M.Trescothick c Sarwan b Edwards 0
A.Strauss b Bravo 90
R.Key b Collymore 6
M.Vaughan b Bravo 12
G.Thorpe not out 89
A.Flintoff lbw Bravo 7
M.Hoggard not out 3
Extras: (b-10, lb-1, w-8, nb-7) 26.
Total: (for five wickets, 79 overs) 233
To bat: G.Jones, A.Giles, S.Harmison, J.Anderson.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-13, 3-40, 4-217, 5-227.
Bowling: Edwards 12-1-43-1 (nb-4, w-1), Collymore 16-3-50-1 (nb-1, w-1), Bravo 19-5-36-3 (nb-1, w-1), Joseph 2-0-8-0 (nb-1, w-1), Gayle 4-1-7-0, Mohammed 26-2-78-0.