REUTERS - Hashim Amla scored an unbeaten 71 to lead a fightback as South Africa reached 152 for four at tea on the opening day of the first test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
His 48-run partnership with JP Duminy, who was 36 not out, steadied the ship after the early loss of captain Graeme Smith, Alviro Petersen, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers who was involved in a bizarre run out.
Amla, ranked the world's top batsman, hit eight fours in an innovative performance that once again underlined his importance to South Africa.
He was given valuable assistance by Duminy who is back in the test arena after an 11-month absence following an Achilles tendon problem.
Earlier, Mohammad Irfan had Petersen caught for three at short leg by Masood Khan and the paceman also removed Smith who was given out after a lengthy review when television replays showed he had nicked the ball to wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal.
Smith, who had decided to bat first after winning the toss, made 15.
Junaid Khan also had Kallis caught behind for five after inside edging a ball that nipped back at the right hander.
De Villiers was the fourth man to fall when he edged debutant spinner Zulfiqar Babar to Younus Khan at first slip.
Younus threw the ball to Akmal and he whipped off the bails while De Villiers, seemingly deep in thought in an uncharacteristic lapse of concentration, was still in an exaggerated forward pose with his back foot not behind the crease.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson editing by Tony Jimenez)