Dubai: Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez scored a patient half-century to build on some good work by bowlers on the second day of the first cricket Test against South Africa on Saturday.
Hafeez scored 60 during an opening stand of 105 with Taufiq Umer (42) to guide Pakistan to 144-2 after paceman Umar Gul chipped in with three wickets off 20 balls to wrap South Africa's first-innings to 380 all out.
Experienced batsman Younis Khan was unbeaten on 21 and Azhar Ali was 12 not out as Pakistan trail by 236 runs with eight wickets intact.
Pakistan will pin their hopes on Younis - playing his first Test since July last year - to build up a decisive first-innings lead as the pitch was expected to take spin on the last two days of the five-day match.
Hafeez, playing his first Test for three years, and Umer, playing his first since 2006, gave Pakistan a sound start, countering the three-pronged South African pace attack with confidence.
Hafeez smashed seven boundaries during his fourth Test half-century before giving a simple catch to mid-on off left-arm spinner Paul Harris.
Six runs later, Umer was trapped leg-before by paceman Morne Morkel. This was Pakistan's first century stand for the opening wicket after 17 innings.
Earlier, Gul (3-100) led Pakistan's fightback and was ably supported by left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman (3-101) and Saeed Ajmal (2-95) as Pakistan dismissed seven South African batsmen for 69 runs.
Gul said Pakistan's revival owed to team effort.
"We had a lengthy chat with the coach ( Waqar Younis) as we gave away 40 extra runs on the first day, so we bowled a disciplined line and length and were rewarded, which is very pleasing," said Gul.
Gul claimed three scalps in 20 balls to help Pakistan put the brakes on South Africa's innings in which the middle order crumbled under pressure with just Jacques Kallis putting up any resistance during his 73-run knock.
Kallis hit six boundaries during his 156-ball knock before he edged off-spinner Ajmal to debutant wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal, ending South African hopes of posting a big first-innings total.
Pakistan, who had to pull out experienced batsman Mohammad Yousuf minutes before the toss on Friday, also lost paceman Wahab Riaz because of a side strain which will prevent him from bowling in the innings.
Riaz, who will bat if needed in the first Test, was ruled out of the second, starting in Abu Dhabi from November 20, after MRI scans revealed he needed four to five weeks for recovery.
Resuming at 311-3, South Africa lost Harris for a duck in the sixth over of the day when the nightwatchman edged Gul to the slips where Younis Khan held onto a difficult catch.
Gul then had AB de Villiers (five) bowled with a sharp incoming delivery and in his next over trapped Ashwell Prince leg-before for one, leaving South Africa on 329-6.
Rehman trapped Mark Boucher (nine) leg-before and bowled Johan Botha (10) to further derail the South African innings. Ajmal wrapped up the innings by dismissing Morne Morkel (10).
South Africa 380 (Smith 100, Amla 80, Kallis 73, Petersen 67, Gul 3-100)
Pakistan 144 for 2 (Hafeez 60, Umar 42)
Status Pakistan trail by 236 runs