South Africa spinner Keshav Maharaj struck twice as the Proteas strengthened their grip on the first Test against England at Lord's on Friday.

Maharaj removed both struggling opener Zak Crawley (13) and Ollie Pope (five) on the third day to leave England 38-2 in their second innings -- still 123 runs behind the tourists -- at lunch on the third day.

Crawley was plumb lbw after missing a sweep, having been dismissed for nine in the first innings.

Pope, whose 73 was the lone fifty in England's meagre first-innings 165, was then trapped lbw off the last ball of the session as he looked to work the ball legside, although it needed a South Africa review to overturn an original not out decision.

An elated Maharaj, brought on early as first change by captain Dean Elgar, went to lunch with superb figures of 2-6 from three overs.

Left-handed opener Alex Lees was 12 not out, although he should have been out for four when he edged Kagiso Rabada, only for Keegan Petersen, diving across from third slip, to drop a chance that seemed destined for Aiden Markram at second slip.

Earlier, Marco Jansen fell just short of a maiden Test fifty before Anrich Nortje added a useful 28 not out as South Africa were dismissed for 326 - a first-innings lead of 161 runs.

Only one side has won a Test at Lord's after conceding a bigger first-innings deficit, with England coming from 171 runs behind to defeat South Africa by 71 runs back in 1955.

South Africa led by 124 runs overnight after a rapid stand of 72 in just 75 balls between Jansen and Maharaj (41) had followed an important 73 by opener Sarel Erwee.

But they lost Rabada without adding to their total off Friday's third ball of the day when his pull off Matthew Potts was brilliantly caught one-handed by a leaping Stuart Broad at mid-on.

Broad, not given the second new ball alongside veteran team-mate James Anderson by skipper Ben Stokes, had Jansen edging a drive to Crawley in the slips, the towering fast bowler out for a 48 that included four fours and a six.

Nortje struck two fours off successive Stokes balls before last man Lungi Ngidi was out for a duck.

Both Broad and Stokes finished with figures of 3-71.

England, however, will have to bat considerably better than in their first innings if they are to retain a realistic chance of going 1-0 up in this three-match series.

They have won all four of their Tests under a new leadership duo of Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, but each of those wins have come courtesy of batting aggressively in the fourth innings rather than having to set a total for their opponents to chase.