Abu Dhabi: Opener Khurram Manzoor hit his maiden test century and propelled Pakistan to a 14-run lead against South Africa on the second day of the first cricket test on Tuesday.
Manzoor's unblemished 131 not out off 244 balls with 14 fours guided Pakistan to 263-3 at stumps after South Africa was dismissed for 249 in its first innings.
Fellow opener Shan Masood scored 75 on debut, laying a solid platform of 135 runs with Manzoor as the Proteas struggled with their lines on a good batting pitch.
South Africa hit back briefly when Azhar Ali (11) was caught behind and Younis Khan (1) could not keep down Morne Morkel's short-pitched delivery in the last session.
But captain Misbah-ul-Haq batted confidently with Manzoor and put on a further 85 runs. Misbah was unbeaten on 44 off 77 balls and brought a perfect end to the day's play for Pakistan by driving Vernon Philander (1-31) to the square leg boundary off the last ball.
"I think it's still even (the match), but hopefully if we can bat all day tomorrow we can post a good total and put them under pressure again," Masood said.
Manzoor showed no sign of nerves in the 90s and hit two successive boundaries off left-arm spinner Robin Petersen before he drove the spinner through covers and ran two to reach his century in just under five hours. He faced 198 balls and hit 11 fours.
Manzoor, playing his 10th test, celebrated his first ton by raising both arms and punching the air, and kneeling down and kissing the turf.
His and Masood's 135-run stand was Pakistan's first opening century partnership since January 2012 as South Africa could get just one wicket in the first two sessions.
"We negated that new ball, that was the key," Masood said. "We gave a good sort of foundation for the rest of the team to score more runs."
The left-handed Masood, who celebrated his 24th birthday when he was handed his test cap on Monday, was trapped lbw for 75 with eight boundaries off 140 balls, and tried to have his dismissal by offspinner JP Duminy reviewed but took too long asking.
"I could have gone longer, I think I missed a straight ball ... I made a mistake and eventually I paid for it," Masood said.
"I think the wicket generally played better today and it was nice to bat on it."
The new opening combination — the sixth in the last seven tests — finally came good for Pakistan, and the only blemish in Masood's otherwise impressive debut came when on 9 Jacques Kallis didn't bend enough at second slip to hold onto an edge off Dale Steyn.
Both openers used their feet well against spinners and Masood completed his half century off 102 balls when he took a sharp single after lunch. Soon after, Manzoor raised his half century off 96 balls as South Africa's pace bowlers bowled too short and never looked to threaten the openers.
Manzoor and Masood missed out by two runs on tying Pakistan's best opening partnership against South Africa: Imran Farhat and Taufiq Umar shared 137 at Faisalabad in 2003.
South Africa coach Russell Domingo was still hopeful his No. 1-ranked test team can curtail the first-innings lead of Pakistan and make a comeback.
"This test side has been in tough positions before and managed ways to get out of it ... there's no reason why we cannot limit the damage in terms of the first-innings lead," Domingo said.
The coach said if his team can limit Pakistan to a lead of 80-120 runs, the Proteas will have a chance to retake control.
Earlier, resuming at the overnight score of 245-8, century-maker Hashim Amla edged lanky paceman Mohammad Irfan (3-44) to Khan at second slip off the second ball in the morning as the ball moved away from the right-hander.
Amla anchored the innings with a spirited 118 off 252 balls, hitting 13 fours as he occupied the crease almost throughout the first day while the rest of the specialist batsmen struggled.
Khan, playing in his 85th test, also equaled Javed Miandad's Pakistan record of 93 test catches.
Saeed Ajmal then had Steyn (15) stumped to finish with 2-59 while rookie left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar ended with 3-89.