Dale Steyn is congratulated by teammates after bowling out Fakhar Zaman. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Pretoria - Dale Steyn become South Africa's leading test wicket-taker and Duanne Olivier took career-best figures as Pakistan were bowled out for 181 on the stroke of tea on the opening day of the first test on Wednesday.

The hosts ripped through Pakistan after being asked to bowl by visiting captain Sarfraz Ahmed and openers Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram will start their reply hoping to drive home the advantage with rain predicted later in the test.

Olivier, in the side for the injured Vernon Philander, claimed 6-37 as Pakistan struggled to cope with his pace and accuracy on a wicket already showing variable bounce.

But the headlines will revolve around Steyn, who had opener Fakhar Zaman (12) caught at slip by Elgar to move to 422 test wickets, taking outright top spot on South Africa's all-time list ahead of Shaun Pollock.

He was hoisted on the shoulders of fast bowling partner Kagiso Rabada as the healthy Boxing Day crowd at Centurion Park gave him a standing ovation.

The visitors were in early trouble when Rabada (3-59) had Imam-ul-Haq trapped lbw for a duck.

After Steyn (1-66) had removed Zaman with the score on 17, Pakistan moved past 50 before Shan Masood (19) played the ball on to his own stumps off the impressive Olivier.

Asad Shafiq (seven) never looked comfortable at the crease and became Olivier’s second victim when he was hit in front of the stumps by a ball that was clipping to the top of leg stump as Pakistan went to lunch on 76 for four.

The fast bowler ripped through the middle order after the break, removing Azhar Ali (36), Sarfraz (0) and Mohammad Amir (1) in quick succession.

Pakistan were reduced to 111 for eight but mounted an excellent fightback through Babar Azam (71 from 79 balls) as he put on 67 for the ninth wicket with Hasan Ali (21 not out) before being caught at second slip by Faf du Plessis off Rabada.

Olivier wrapped up the innings when he picked up the wicket of Shaheen Afridi for nought to end a poor start to the tour with the bat for the touring side.

Pakistan have won only one of their previous test series home and away against the Proteas, losing 3-0 on their last visit to the country in 2013. 

Reuters