Zubayr Hamza scored an assured 41 on test debut for South Africa but the hosts squandered their advantage in a frenetic last session that saw them lose 7 wickets for 33 runs after being 229/3 at one stage on the opening day of the third test at the Wanderers.
Stand in skipper Dean Elgar won the toss and opted to bat first. The Proteas made only one change, with Hamza coming in for suspended regular captain Faf du Plessis. Pakistan however made three of them, with Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali coming in for Fakhar Zaman, Yasir Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Elgar was the first to go, edging an Abbas delivery to the keeper for just 5. His opening partner Aiden Markram, surprisingly dropped from the South Africa ODI squad against Pakistan, was impressive, hitting fours at will as Amla and he took control of the game. Just as it had been in Cape Town, Markram looked good for a century but fell at an inopportune moment. On 90, he attempted to flick an Ashraf delivery down the leg side, only for Sarfaraz Ahmed to take a good catch.
Amla was the next to go, with a Shadab delivery rising on him as an attempted cut ended up in a simple catch to slip. That brought Hamza to the crease, and the Rondebosch product showed why he was so highly rated domestically as he set about repairing the innings in the company of Theunis de Bruyn. Hamza’s positiveness rubbed off on De Bruyn, who also started to play his shots, and Pakistan’s bowlers were carted all around the park, with Hasan and Shadab both taken to the cleaners.
At tea, South Africa looked in control at 226/3, but the break broke their rhythm and once the ball started to reverse, Pakistan found their way back into the game. De Bruyn was the first to go, LBW to Abbas, while Temba Bavuma was masterfully worked over by Mohammad Amir. The left arm pacer also accounted for Hamza, who got an edge while attempting to leave the ball as South Africa slumped to 244/6.
A good review from Pakistan saw Philander out LBW to Ali, and Rabada fell to the same bowler while attempting an expansive drive. The search for quick runs saw Quinton de Kock hole out in the deep while a bouncer from Ashraf saw No.11 Olivier depart as the Proteas were bowled out for 262.
However Pakistan still had to face a nervous few overs, and Vernon Philander produced a masterful display of bowling to take out both Shan Masood and Azhar Ali. At stumps, Pakistan were 17/2, with night watchman Mohammad Abbas keeping opener Imam Ul Haq company.
South Africa 262 all out (Markram 90, De Bruyn 49) Pakistan 17/2 at stumps.