The ever reliable Hashim Amla saved the South African cricketers from embarrassment on the opening day of the first test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
Amla, ranked the world's best batsman, batted for most of the day and to score nearly half his side's total - an unbeaten 118 in their 245 for 8.
The only other batsman to score more than 20 was JP Duminy with 57.
The Pakistani spinner Zulfiqar Babar, making his test debut as a 34 year old, took 3 wickets in the final session.
It's a two match series in the United Arab Emirates where South Africa face a stiff examination of their top-ranked status.