England cast aside the controversy surrounding Kevin Pietersen to make an outstanding start to the must-win third Investec Test against South Africa at Lord's.

Steven Finn came to the fore, on his home ground, with three wickets in seven balls - and afterwards insisted the shenanigans surrounding Pietersen over the past week simply did not cross England's minds when the time came to play cricket again.

Finn helped reduce South Africa to 54 for four - and even after JP Duminy's 61 had underpinned a fightback to 262 for seven, England's seamer was content. He said: "Whenever we go and bowl, regardless of what's happening elsewhere, we always want to do what we do well."

He went on: "Even if what happened in the last week hadn't happened, we'd still have gone out there and had the same intentions."

Pietersen's contract wrangles with the England and Wales Cricket Board are ongoing, and it is apparent that - after his text-message and Twitter complications too - he will not be part of the defence of their ICC World Twenty20 crown in Sri Lanka.

England, meanwhile, have a tough task on their hands to try to salvage their world number one Test status here. Finn added: "What's happened hasn't affected the way we've approached this game. I thought we were great as a team out there, as 11 people out there on the pitch."

Among his victims was Jacques Kallis, caught-behind down the leg-side - even though replays suggested the South African might have had his hand off the bat handle at the point of impact. Finn was happy to accept whichever decision came his way, and delighted DRS ruled - somewhat controversially - in his favour.

"We were just looking at the umpire. It's out of our hands whether his hand was off the bat or not," he said. "I was just concentrating on, if we got him out, who was next - and how to get him out."

Duminy figured in two of three successive half-century stands, but accepted afterwards England had shaded proceedings. He said: "Things didn't go our way in the morning, but we are pretty happy with sessions two and three. England are more on top than we are, but we are happy with the fighting spirit that we showed."

As for Kallis' dismissal, he added: "It's one of those things we can't comment on - but we were a little disappointed. You win some, and you lose some."