Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq conducted a master class of grit and determination as their twin centuries hauled Pakistan back into contention yesterday on day one of the second Test against South Africa at Newlands.
A reprise of their 49 all out in the series opener looked like a distinct possibility as they crumbled to 33 for four against the new ball, but Younis' 21st Test ton and a third from Shafiq turned the tables in dramatic fashion as the duo added 219.
The Proteas took less than 17 overs to dismiss Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Azhar Ali and Misbah-ul-Haq but had to wait until the 89th over to add Younis's wicket as Pakistan reached 253 for five.
Younis faced 226 balls for his 111, while Shafiq will resume in the morning today having made the same score from two more deliveries.
Pakistan started the day by confirming that Junaid Khan and Rahat Ali had both been ruled out with injury, handing seven-foot seamer Mohammad Irfan a debut and Tanvir Ahmed a recall to the side.
But it was the South Africa bowlers who got first use of the Cape Town pitch after Graeme Smith won the toss. Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander started well, with the latter making the breakthrough in the eighth over.
Philander first had Jamshed dropped by Faf du Plessis at gully but dismissed him for three with the very next delivery when AB de Villiers gathered a simple catch behind the stumps.
Mohammad Hafeez scored the first boundary of the day off the 58th ball and moved along to 17 by the time Steyn sent him back with the first ball of his second spell. A testing line and a hint of away movement produced the edge and Smith took a low catch at slip.
Morne Morkel then stepped up to see off Azhar Ali and captain Misbah-ul-Haq in the space of five balls.
Azhar drove airily at one to hand De Villiers a second catch and Misbah followed for a duck, fending a hostile ball to short leg.
Pakistan were reeling but they found two men willing to take up the fight in Younis and Shafiq.
They stemmed the flow to take the score to 60 by lunch, Younis taking the lead as they took some of the sting out of the Proteas pacemen.
Only 13 were added in the first 10 overs after the resumption, including Shafiq's first boundary.
Smith eventually turned to Robin Peterson and the spinner had Shafiq dropped at short leg on 24.
He made the most of his life, striking four fours in the next five overs to overtake Younis.
Tea came with the pair's stand worth exactly 100 and they added another 119 to that in a profitable evening session.
South Africa were beginning to show real frustration as the run-rate began to climb, Younis bringing up his century by milking Elgar's occasional spin for consecutive twos.
The 200 stand was up in the 80th over, with Shafiq's hundred following three balls later with his 13th boundary off Elgar.
The new ball was eagerly taken and Steyn had Younis lbw after just four balls, only for DRS to show an inside edge.
It looked as though that would be the final drama of the day until Philander struck with 12 balls left before stumps.
His initial appeal appeared to be for lbw but the TV umpire detected an inside edge, making De Villiers's low take decisive.
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