Pretoria: AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla produced knocks in the 90s after South Africa had been in early trouble on the first day of the third Test against Pakistan on Friday.
De Villiers was on 98 not out and Vernon Philander was unbeaten on 45 as South Africa reached 334 for six at the close of play at Centurion.
Choosing to bat first, openers Graeme Smith (five) and Alviro Petersen (10) struggled as Pakistan’s bowlers used the seamer-friendly conditions to their advantage inside the first hour to leave the hosts on 38 for two.
Petersen’s miserable series continued when he was trapped lbw by Rahat Ali, who returned to the side after missing the second Test in Cape Town.
Smith battled for 47 minutes before he became debutant Ehsan Adil's first wicket in Test cricket with just the third ball of the seamer's spell when a touch of away movement found his edge and looped towards Younis Khan at second slip.
Faf du Plessis (29) came in at No.4 in place of the injured Jacques Kallis (calf strain) and after a slow start hit three boundaries off one Adil over to get his innings up and running.
Adil got his revenge after lunch though, inducing an edge to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed after the batsman advanced down the track to the medium pacer. It ended a partnership of 69 between Amla and Du Plessis.
De Villiers put on 79 with Amla before the latter fell just eight short of what would have been a deserving century.
Amla's elegant 92 came from 128 balls, but his innings was ended as he attempted to cut a wide delivery from Rahat and got a faint edge through to Sarfraz.