Graeme Smith's 22nd century was the backbone for South Africa as they reached tea on day one of the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai on 197 for two.
The Proteas captain made exactly 100 in an innings that saw him become the most successful captain in terms of runs as he overtook Australian Allan Border.
Alviro Petersen (67) was also amongst the runs, sharing an opening stand of 153, before falling to a fine one-handed catch by Younus Khan at mid-wicket.
But Hashim Amla (22 not out) and Jacques Kallis (three not out) ensured their side were on top after the first two session of play at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium - hosting its first ever Test with the Pakistanis utilising the United Arab Emirates as a home base due to security issues in their homeland.
South Africa had earlier won the toss and elected to bat first with the openers having to weather an early storm from Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz.
The former should have had the wicket of Petersen in the third over, but umpire Daryl Harper failed to spot an edge to the debutant wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal - the batsman on nine at the time.
His partner Smith survived successive leg before wicket scared in the next two overs, both could have gone either way, as Gul and Riaz kept things tight early on.
But once spin was introduced in the 10th over the pressure was released, allowing South Africa to score a little more freely.
They went past 50 in the first over after drinks, with Petersen going past his half-century from 69 balls shortly before lunch, which the visitors reached at 101 without loss.
After the resumption, Smith went past 50 with the first ball - his milestone coming from 93 balls - and a flurry of boundaries straight after helped tick the scoreboard over.
There were hardly any scares for the batsmen in the interim as the bowlers seemed slightly deflated.
The 150 came up shortly before the halfway point of the session, but Petersen then fell while attempting to smash a loose Abdur Rehman delivery for a boundary.
That was the beginning of another good period for Pakistan, but South Africa managed to get through with Smith going on to reach his century from 150 balls.
He fell two balls later, though, when his pull shot off Riaz was straight to Taufeeq Umar at deep backward square leg, with Amla and Kallis remaining firm until the break.
Earlier, Pakistan were dealt a major blow before the toss when veteran Mohammad Yousuf was ruled out after picking up a leg injury.
It meant there was a completely new top four in place from their last Test outing against England in August and a total of seven changes from that match at Lord's.
Amongst those was also a new captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, while the South Africans opted for both spinners Paul Harris and Johan Botha in their attack.
There was also a place for Ashwell Prince in the line-up ahead of JP Duminy.Reuse content