Vernon Philander took two wickets in as many balls to leave Pakistan with eight wickets in hands at stumps on day one. Philander removed Shan Masood for two runs and then had Azhar Ali out first ball to bring to nine the number of wickets in a dramatic final session on what was supposed to be a docile wicket at the Wanderers.
South Africa, with a foundation of 90 runs from Aiden Markram and handy contributions from Hashim Amla, Theunis de Bruyn and debutant Zubayr Hamza, were 226-3 at tea but collapsed after and lost seven wickets for a paltry 33 runs as Pakistan’s bowlers found reverse swing to seize the initiative.
The hosts were 132-1 as Markram and Amla put together a 126-run partnership in an attacking start after stand-in skipper Dean Elgar had won the toss and elected to bat.
Markram’s availability was only confirmed after a late fitness test but he showed no signs of discomfort from a thigh injury as he rushed to 78 not out at lunch. Amla provided solid back-up and looked to be set for a big score himself before he was out for 41.
De Bruyn, needing a good innings to keep his place in the team, was on 48 at tea but added just one run before his departure set off the avalanche of wickets with Hamza, after looking confident on debut, getting a small nick behind for 41.
Then followed a steady procession of wickets before Pakistan came out to bat with 30 minutes left in the day.
Opener Imam-ul-Haq (10) and nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas, who survived 13 balls without scoring, will resume on Saturday.