The Proteas fought to 106-4 at stumps on day two of the second Test against Pakistan after Anrich Nortje led from the front with the ball.
It turned out to be a mixed day for the South Africans, who delivered a clinical bowling performance before the top order batsmen once again failed to come off.
Anrich Nortje was star early on Friday, bagging a brilliant five-wicket haul as Pakistan were dismissed for 272.
The paceman made the early breakthrough with the big wicket of Babar Azam, who was caught by Faf du Plessis for 77.
Fawad Alam was then run out after a spectacular direct hit by Temba Bavuma left him short of his ground.
Keshav Maharaj and Wiaan Mulder chipped in with a wicket each before Nortje cleaned up the tail to end with figures of 5-56.
Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar started well with the bat but Hasan Ali struck twice before tea to remove Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen, who was knocked over for a golden duck.
Faf du Plessis added 17 when he fell victim to a Faheem Ashraf delivery before Nauman Ali picked up the big scalp of Markram, top edging to Shaheen Afridi for 32.
Quinton de Kock joined Temba Bavuma in the middle with the Proteas on 81-4. The skipper though went on the attack and raced to 24 from 11 balls when umpires called an end to the day.
He will resume on Saturday alongside Bavuma, who is unbeaten on 15. The Proteas still trail Pakistan by 166 runs in their first innings.