Pakistan's batsman Shan Masood, right, watches South Africa's wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock make an unsuccessful appeal for LBW on day two of the first cricket test match between South Africa and Pakistan at Centurion Park in Pretoria, South Africa, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. Image Credit: AP

Centurion: Pakistan forced their way back into the first Test in South Africa by reaching 100-1 in their second innings for a 58-run lead by tea on the second day on Thursday.

Opener Imam-ul-Haq led Pakistan’s push with an unbeaten half-century. He was 57 not out at the interval and part of an unbroken stand of 56 with Shan Masood (22 not out).

That put the tourists in a much more promising position after surrendering a 42-run first-innings deficit to South Africa at SuperSport Park, where fast bowlers have dominated and both teams posted modest first-innings totals.

Imam hit eight fours and a six in the second innings to put Pakistan back on track. A lead of around 250 at SuperSport Park is considered a position of strength and the tourists will likely have that as their first target.

Pakistan haver never won a Test series in South Africa but came with high hopes this time of ending that drought in this three-match contest.

South Africa had edged ahead earlier on Day 2 after a half-century from middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma temporarily staved off the Pakistan quick bowlers.

Bavuma made 53 and Quinton de Kock added 45 down the order but South Africa were all out for 223 in their first innings before lunch. That gave the home team their 42-run lead after they bowled Pakistan out for 181 on the first day.

All 21 wickets have fallen to pace bowlers so far on a green-tinged pitch in Centurion, with Mohammad Amir and Shaheen Afridi collecting four each for Pakistan and Hasan Ali returning 2-70.

Duanne Olivier took 6-37 for South Africa on the first day, and also picked up the only wicket of the Pakistan second innings.

Pakistan’s quicks hit back to keep the game even.

— AP