Aidan Markram and Rassie van der Dussen produced patient half-centuries but Pakistan grabbed three late wickets as South Africa reached 187 for four in its second innings at the close on day three of a see-saw first Test in Karachi.
The visitors lead by 29 runs and have wiped out a first-innings deficit after they trailed by 158 having bowled Pakistan out for 378 on Thursday.
Captain Quinton de Kock has yet to score and will resume on the fourth morning with nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj (2 n.o.), the pair looking to push South Africa towards a total that will give it something to defend in Pakistan’s fourth innings.
South Africa’s position looked a lot brighter 30 minutes before the close but Pakistan’s spinners grabbed three big wickets as the shadows lengthened on the day.
Markram (74, 224b) put on 127 for the second wicket with Van der Dussen (64, 151b) to get their team into the lead, but the latter was caught at silly mid-off by Abid Ali off leg-spinner Yasir Shah (3-53).
The visitors were dealt a further blow when Faf du Plessis (10) was trapped leg before wicket by the dangerous Yasir, but worse was to come as the set Markram was dismissed in the next over, also caught at silly mid-off, though from the bowling of Nauman Ali.
Opener Dean Elgar (29) was the other wicket to fall having taken a nasty blow on the hand. He never looked settled after that and was caught by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan off Yasir. X-rays have revealed no fracture.
Pakistan’s lower order frustrated the South Africans in the morning session as they took the attack to the bowlers.
After resuming on 308 for eight, seamer Kagiso Rabada (3-70) picked up his 200th Test wicket when he bowled Hasan Ali (21), becoming the fourth youngest player to reach the milestone.
But the final Pakistan pair of Yasir (38 n.o.) and Nauman (24) added 55 for the final wicket before the latter was leg-before wicket to spinner Maharaj (3-90).