JOHANNESBURG: Pakistan’s bowlers spoiled Graeme Smith's big day as South Africa were bowled out for 253 on the first day of the first Test against Pakistan at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday.
Pakistan survived two overs at the end of the day, finishing on six for no wicket.
The South African batsmen did well enough against Pakistan's front line bowlers, but lost five wickets to part-timers Younis Khan and Mohammad Hafeez and another to a run-out.
Younis took only his eighth wicket in an 80-Test career to dismiss Hashim Amla with his third delivery of the match, while off-spinner Hafeez did even better, taking four for 16 after only being introduced in the 71st over.
Hafeez, who had taken 29 wickets in 29 Tests before Friday, had AB de Villiers caught behind off his first ball.
Remarkably, Hafeez was given the second new ball and struck again four balls later when Robin Peterson padded up and was bowled by a straight delivery.
He then had Dean Elgar caught behind playing down the legside and wrapped up the innings by bowling Morne Morkel.
The other four wickets fell in more conventional fashion, with opening bowlers Umar Gul and Junaid Khan taking two each.
South Africa's last five wickets fell for 21 runs.
“It was not the easiest pitch to score on,” said South African batsman Faf du Plessis.
“There was movement for the seam bowlers and the ball was holding up a bit. For a day one pitch there was a lot happening out there. Looking at the cracks on the pitch there are good signs for us.”
Hafeez gave credit to the other bowlers who he said had kept the pressure on the South African batsmen throughout the day.
“It was a team effort. We showed good discipline with the ball,” he said.
Of the decision for him to bowl with the second new ball, Hafeez pointed out that he had often bowled with the new ball in one-day matches and occasionally in Test matches.
“There were some left-handers around so we decided to try a few balls and see what happened.”
The build-up to the match was dominated by Smith's feat of becoming the first player in history to achieve 100 captaincies.
But he did not have long to dwell on the landmark as he and Alviro Petersen had to survive some accurate, hostile bowling from Junaid and Gul.
Smith and Petersen saw off the initial threat but a switch of ends brought the wickets of both openers.
The left-armed Junaid squared up Petersen and had him caught at third slip for 20 with the total on 46. Four balls later, without addition to the score, Smith was caught behind for 24 when he tried to work Gul to the leg side.
Jacques Kallis hit 50 in a third wicket stand of 79 with Amla before he mistimed a pull against Gul and fell to a superb diving catch by Asad Shafiq at deep midwicket.
With Junaid and Gul having had a heavy workload, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq brought on Younis Khan to bowl his occasional medium-pacers.
Amla slashed hard at Younis' third ball and Azhar Ali took a blinding catch at gully, prompting joyous celebrations from the Pakistan players.
Kallis looked in fine form before his dismissal, hitting nine fours during a 78-ball innings, while Amla was content to play a supporting role.
Amla made 37 off 67 balls with six fours.
De Villiers and du Plessis put on 64 for the fifth wicket with watchful batting.
But De Villiers pushed at a straight ball from Hafeez to be caught behind by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed for 31.
Du Plessis made 41 before he played a forward defensive stroke against Junaid and the ball bounced back off the pitch to hit his stumps.
Hafeez then made superb use of the new ball, while Pakistan were helped by a mix-up which led to the run-out of Vernon Philander.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Rahat Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Gul, Younis Khan