(Reuters) - Pakistan captain Babar Azam and Fawad Alam put on an unbeaten century stand to rescue the hosts from early trouble and lead them to 145 for three at the close of a rain-shortened first day of the second test with South Africa in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
Babar won the toss and chose to bat as Pakistan look to close out the two-match series and he is not out on 77, having so far put on 123 for the fourth wicket with Fawad (42 not out) to frustrate the tourists.
South Africa had made inroads into the Pakistan top order when they reduced the home team to 22 for three, with left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj (2-51) striking early with the new ball.
He had opener Imran Butt (15) caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock when the batsman tried to steer a delivery to third man, before trapping the dangerous Azhar Ali leg before wicket for a duck.
Seamer Anrich Nortje picked up the third wicket as Aiden Markram took a superb one-handed diving catch at short leg to dismiss Abid Ali (6).
But Babar and Fawad then set about restoring the innings as the wicket lost some of its early morning venom. South Africa’s second spinner George Linde was forced off after just 2.5 overs with a laceration to the small finger on his left hand.
Scans revealed no fracture but Linde is likely to be impeded for the rest of the test, which will be a blow for the visitors.
The rain started to fall as the players went off for tea, with the entire final session lost.
Pakistan are unchanged from their seven-wicket first test win, while South Africa included all-rounder Wiaan Mulder in the place of Lungi Ngidi.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Ken Ferris)