The Proteas came into this test on the back of a heavy defeat to the hosts and things didn't start well after they won the toss and chose to bat first.
Amla and De Kock though got the innings back on track as the pair put on a brilliant partnership of 118.
Amla made 78, while De Kock made 68 but at the end of the day it needed someone else to step up and that is what Philander did as he finished the day on 54 not out and will be looking to score more runs tomorrow morning.
Visitors battled well through rain-affected morning after choosing to bat first
On an overcast morning in Nottingham, Faf du Plessis, who returned to captain the side after missing the first test, won the toss and chose to bat first much to the surprise of many people.
It showed how difficult it was early on as the Proteas didn't get off to a great start as they lost Dean Elgar for six off the bowling of James Anderson.
That was the only wicket though to fall in a rain affected morning session as both Amla and Heino Kuhn saw the visitors to lunch on 56-1. Amla ended the session on 16 not out, while Kuhn was 34 not out.
Amla and De Kock both hit half-centuries as the Proteas dominated the afternoon session
After lunch, the hosts managed to get another early breakthrough once again when Stuart Broad removed Kuhn for 34.
Again though it was the only wicket to fall in the session as De Kock and Amla put on a brilliant century partnership.
Both batsmen also passed their half-centuries during the partnership as the visitors finished the afternoon session on 179-2, with Amla 65 not out and De Kock 68 not out.
Broad and Stokes lead hosts fightback after tea with four quick wickets
After tea, though, it was a different story as the hosts started to to take regular wickets and it began when Broad removed De Kock first ball after the break for 68.
Broad had his tail up after that and he got his third wicket of the innings when he got the big wicket of Amla for 78 after he mistimed a pull shot.
That brought Du Plessis and Temba Bavuma to the crease together and just as the pair looked like they were starting to build a decent partnership, Ben Stokes removed them both before they could get into overdrive.
Stokes firstly removed Du Plessis for 19 and then Bavuma for 20 as the Proteas slumped to 235-6.
Philander and Morris saw the Proteas to the close with an unbeaten half-century partnership
Philander and Chris Morris though showed that they were no slouches with the bat as the pair put on an unbeaten 74 partnership to see the Proteas to the end of play without losing anymore wickets.
During the partnership, Philander went passed his half century as the visitors ended the day on 309-6, with Philander 54 not out and Morris 23 not out.