Umar Gul sparked Pakistan's fightback on the second morning at Dubai as he removed nightwatchman Paul Harris, AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince in quick succession in the midst of his spell of 3 for 15 in eight overs.

His dismissal of de Villiers, bowled through the gate by one that nipped back in off the pitch, was particularly eye-catching and brought Pakistan right back into the game after South Africa had started the day on a healthy 311 for 3. "I have worked very hard on the incutter," revealed Gul. "I bowled a couple of outswingers to de Villiers before slipping in the incoming delivery."

Pakistan managed to maintain control in the field despite the loss of Wahab Riaz, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the series with a muscle strain. Harris clung to the crease in a 42-minute duck - setting a new record for South Africa in the process - while Kallis clipped an early boundary off his legs, but the scoring rate then stalled completely as just two more boundaries were struck in the opening session despite Pakistan's depleted resources.

"We had a team meeting during it was felt that we had conceded around 30-40 extra runs yesterday which we shouldn't have," explained Gul. "It was decided that we would try to contain them today. There was some pressure, obviously, due to the loss of Wahab Riaz. However, Younis Khan bowled really well and we built pressure by restricting the flow of runs. The thinking was that if we managed to do so, the batsmen would make mistakes [and get out]."

Pakistan's opening batsmen built upon the progress made by the bowlers with a 105-run stand before Mohammad Hafeez chipped Paul Harris to Graeme Smith at mid-on to be out for 60. Gul praised the batsmen's efforts, and suggested that if Pakistan could secure a first-innings lead then South Africa could be put under real pressure.

"Taufeeq and Hafeez gave us a good start, and Younis and Azhar Ali are going along nicely. We'll try and bat for as long as possible, and if we can get a lead of 100-150 runs, it will be tough for South Africa on this wicket in the third innings.

"The pitch is still good for batting, there are hardly any rough areas on it. Maybe there will be some uneven bounce from the third day."