Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam all scored half-centuries as Pakistan produced their best day of batting on tour and scored more than 200 runs in an innings for the first time in the series.
Faf du Plessis bounced back from his pair at Centurion with a captain's innings of 103, his ninth Test century and first at his adopted home ground of Newlands, as South Africa ground out an imposing first-innings lead of 205 and counting to leave Pakistan needing an urgent revival of their batting fortunes to stave off a heavy defeat in the second Test.
Retired hurt on two, Amla plodded of the Newlands turf looking rather sorry for himself to join Markram on the injured list.
"For me, playing two or three practice matches [would be ideal]".
"Cricket is not the same as it used to be four to five years ago, when 400 or 500 totals were scored all the time".
On a personal note, du Plessis regarded the previous 12 months the best he has batted in the format.
"We didn't get enough runs in the first innings", he said. But we only played one match here. The only thing was that Pakistan went at more than four runs an over, which is not good enough. "Our batsmen showed their courage, hopefully we'll have confidence [in Johannesburg]", he added. "(It is an) wonderful place to play cricket, with the mountains around and the crowd is awesome as well. "After a game where you don't score runs, you still feel the pressure, the expectation. For me, it was a true test of my character and I am happy I managed to do well".
The Proteas skipper was also proud of his team for securing their seventh home series win in a row.
"It's a lot of fun for us coming here (Newlands)".
Du Plessis was also glad to see that the decision to play four pacers and no spinners in the second Test worked in accordance with their expectations.
But unlike India, who refused to blame the surfaces for their 2-1 defeat previous year, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur was particularly critical this past week. But he gritted his teeth and got on with the job, and when on 96, Sarfraz behind the stumps spilled the simplest of leg-side deflections off the toiling Abbas, he knew it had to be his day. The third and final Test starts in Johannesburg on Friday.