South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl has admitted bowling Pakistan out twice will be "hard work" but hopes the pitch will deteriorate over the next two days to give his team a good shot at a series win. In reply to South Africa's 584, Pakistan's middle order resisted well, reaching 317 for 6 at stumps at the end of the third day but still 68 adrift of the follow-on.

"I would like to see this pitch deteriorate a little bit more," van Zyl said. "It looks fairly placid at the moment and I haven't really seen it break up.

South Africa would have been hoping for some assistance off the pitch in the morning, but Pakistan's batsmen managed to defy the seamers. Half-centuries from Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and Misbah-ul-Haq steadied Pakistan but left-arm spinner Paul Harris struck with two wickets late in the day to give South Africa hope of wrapping the innings early on the fourth day. But van Zyl doubted if the track had enough in it.

"I think it did move a lot on day one and a little bit less on day two and today it was less again," he said. "But we have to give credit to the Pakistan batsmen, they really played well. They have been patient.

"The quicker we can get the last four wickets, then we can have a second go. The moisture is not there any more and it is going to be hard work."

South Africa, despite the conditions not entirely in their favour on the third day, did try to ruffle the Pakistan batsmen up with the short ball. When asked if they overdid it, van Zyl said: "At times we could have changed our tactics. I don't want to sit here and criticise the tactics used in the field. Ma be they felt at times there wasn't enough movement and at times I thought we were little short."

The third day was an important one for Shafiq, making his Test debut and he impressed, making 61 and adding 107 for the fifth wicket with Misbah. "I was a bit nervous at the start. But after three or four overs I felt comfortable," he said.

"That is how you have to play Tests. You have to play hard. The pitch was very good to bat on. A little difficult with the new ball, but later it is good for batting."