Two outstanding catches from Pakistan put South Africa on the back foot as it went to tea on 159-4 on day one of the first test at the Wanderers today.
Batsmen Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla were guilty of some uncharacteristically rash strokes, but their dismissals in the afternoon session were equally indebted to sharp catches by Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali.
Kallis was out for 50 and Amla for 37, before AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis stabilized the innings for the Proteas and took the home side through to the tea break.
But it was Pakistan which was the happier side given that Graeme Smith won the toss in his 100th test as captain and elected to bat first on a sunny day.
Although Pakistan’s fast bowlers were slow to find their lengths, they adapted to the conditions and claimed the initiative.
On his 32nd birthday, Smith saw out the opening hour of the day along with his opening partner Alviro Petersen.
However, just as the pair was beginning to open up after a cautious start, two wickets in five deliveries allowed Pakistan to claim a share of the first session honours.
Petersen was caught at third slip off the bowling of Junaid Khan for 20, while Smith edged Umar Gul through to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed off the first delivery of the next over to depart for 24.
Amla and Kallis saw the home side through to the luncheon interval without further loss, and counterattacked with a flurry of four consecutive boundaries soon after the break.