Younis Khan, the Pakistan vice-captain, insists his side are well placed despite a middle-order slump in which they lost 3 for 21 in 10 overs, each to the hook shot, on the first day at Centurion.
"It happens in Test cricket," he said. "You lose one wicket and then you lose two or three. The main thing was that after we lost two wickets early on, me and Yasir played a little bit of aggressive cricket, not on the back foot. On these pitches you must be the aggressor, especially against a side like South Africa who are always coming at you in your face [sic]."
Pakistan were in a strong position at tea on the first day against South Africa. Both Younis and Yasir Hameed struck confident, resilient fifties and put on 133 for the third wicket before Younis mis-hooked Shaun Pollock to fine-leg, prompting a mini-collapse. His captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, is still at the crease with Kamran Akmal, the wicketkeeper, and Younis is confident the pair can build Pakistan a big total.
"If they can get through the first hour," he said, "we can make 350 plus."
While Pakistan were providing South Africa's outfielders with several chances, there were a couple of thin edges flying through to their wicketkeeper, Mark Boucher, playing in his 100th Test.
In snaffling a regulation chance to dismiss Faisal Iqbal he overtook Ian Healy's record of 366 Test catches. Healy, who retired in 1999, still holds the world record for the number of career dismissals - 395, including 29 stumpings - but Boucher, currently in second place on 382, is confident of overtaking him. However, Adam Gilchrist, the current Australia wicketkeeper, is closing on him fast with 381 career dismissals.
"I haven't been aware of the most catches," Boucher said. "I have been aware of the most dismissals and that's something I've been eyeing." Boucher added that he and Gilchrist were "having a bit of a race" to get past Healy's record. "I've probably got my nose in front at the moment because I have a couple more Tests to play [this season]," he said, "and he's finished with his Test cricket for a while.
"[Gilchrist has] taken wicketkeeping and batting to a new level. He's set the standard for a lot of guys," he said. "Kumar Sangakkara I rate more for his batting but he does a great job for Sri Lanka with the gloves as well.
"Myself and Brendon McCullum are more 'keeping-batters'. If I can do a job down the order with the bat, which I think I have done down the years, then I'm a satisfied cricketer."