Johannesburg: Two part-time 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.
South Africa were dismissed after Smith, celebrating 100 Tests as captain and his 32nd birthday, won the toss and decided to bat in what were always likely to be challenging conditions on a pitch with pace and bounce.
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 Younus Khan and Mohammad Hafeez and another to a run-out.
Younus 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.
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 Younus Khan to bowl his occasional medium-pacers.
Amla slashed hard at Younus’ 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 Faf du Plessis put on 64 for the fifth wicket with watchful batting.
Both survived reviews after Pakistan had appeals for catches behind the wicket turned down by umpire Billy Bowden — Du Plessis off new cap Rahat Ali and De Villiers off off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
But De Villiers pushed at a straight ball from Hafeez to be caught behind by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmad 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.