Seamer Duanne Olivier completed an 11-wicket match haul as South Africa roared back into contention in the first Test by bowling Pakistan out for 190 in their second innings at the close of day two at Centurion Park on Thursday.
Olivier finished with 5-59 to go with his first innings figures of 6-37 as Pakistan set South Africa a target of 149. Thirty wickets have fallen on the opening two days of a game that has moved forward at a rapid pace.
The home side will begin their chase on the third morning, but with rain forecast for both days three and four.
A side has chased down more than 149 to win a Test in Pretoria on only three previous occasions, which includes South Africa scoring 199 to beat Pakistan by seven wickets in 2007, the last of those instances.
“The pitch is a bit tricky, there is sideways movement,” South African batsman Temba Bavuma told reporters.
“Centurion as we know can get a bit up and down, so there is something there for the bowlers. The batters will have to knuckle down.
“But you can definitely bat on it. You just have to have a good game-plan.”
Olivier, in the side only because stalwart seamer Vernon Philander was injured, showed great pace and accuracy to help bowl Pakistan out in 56 overs of their second innings.
The tourists had been on top when they went to tea on 100 for one with a lead of 58. They then lost their final nine wickets for the addition of only 90 runs as the South African seamers found movement on a wicket that is also showing variable bounce.
Opener Imam-ul-Haq had looked rock solid at the crease for his 57 before he chopped an Olivier delivery on to his stumps, while number three Shan Masood crafted a fine 65 but holed out to Keshav Maharaj in the deep off Dale Steyn (2-34).
No other Pakistan batsman made more than 12 in the innings, and they were easily picked off as they hung on the back foot, too wary of the pace and bounce in the wicket.
That included a second duck of the match for captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who was caught at slip by Faf du Plessis off excellent pace bowler Kagiso Rabada (3-47).
South Africa had earlier labored to 223 in their first innings after starting the second day on 127 for five.
Seamers Mohammad Amir (4-62) and Shaheen Afridi (4-64) were particularly impressive in getting the ball to move off the pitch, with seven of their eight scalps caught behind the wicket.
They will hold the key again for the tourists in trying to restrict South Africa’s chase with the pitch offering little assistance to the spinners.
Bavuma top-scored for the home side with a fluent 53 but his stay was ended when Afridi induced an edge to Ahmed.
“I thought the bowlers could get my number at any time,” Bavuma said. “You just have to get into good position and when the bad ball presents itself, put it away.
“Hopefully I don’t have to put on my pads tomorrow. We want to kill off that target as soon as possible.”
Quinton de Kock (45) looked for quick runs at the death of the innings and pushed the lead to 42, but was deceived by a slower ball from Amir and caught at cover by Fakhar Zaman to be the last man out.