Joe Root and Dawid Malan began the fight back to take England to 171-3 in its second innings, only two runs ahead of West Indies at stumps on Day 3 of the second test on Sunday.
Root was 45 not out and his unbroken partnership with Malan was worth 77 by the close at Headingley, edging England ahead after West Indies finished on 427 all out in its first innings.
Root was on course to reach 50 for the sixth time in 11 innings this summer, and Malan was 21 not out. In a further boost to England, opener Mark Stoneman made 52, a maiden half-century in his second test.
West Indies had applied the pressure on England earlier in the day with a 169-run first-innings lead. That total was set up by centuries on Day 2 from Shai Hope (147) and Kraigg Brathwaite (134) and a 75-run partnership on Sunday between West Indies captain Jason Holder (43) and Jermaine Blackwood (49).
Holder had a standout day when he followed up on that effort with the bat by taking 2-44 at the start of England's second innings.
Holder forced out Alastair Cook and Tom Westley, both caught behind by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, and England was 94-3 before Root and Malan came together.