ABU DHABI - Wily spinner Saeed Ajmal took four wickets to fire Pakistan to a seven-wicket win over world number one South Africa in the first Test in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
The off-spinner (4-74) was superbly supported by left-arm paceman Junaid Khan (3-57) and fellow spinner Zulfiqar Babar (2-51) as South Africa collapsed to 232 in their second innings on the fourth day at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
That left Pakistan to score 40 runs for their overall fourth win over South Africa and take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
But the hosts made heavy weather of the small target losing openers Shan Masood (nought), Azhar Ali (three) and Khurram Manzoor (four) in the space of seven runs by the fourth over.
Vernon Philander took 2-11 while Dale Steyn had 1-7.
Senior batsmen Younis Khan (28) and Misbah-ul Haq (nine) were left to see off the target with Pakistan captain deservedly hitting the winning six.
"It's really unbelievable and a much-needed win for us," said Misbah, whose team lost to minnows Zimbabwe in their last Test in September.
"It was a team effort and everyone contributed, especially the youngsters.
"Both openers and Zulfiqar Babar, they really did a tremendous job for us.
"I think everyone chipped in, especially with the bowling."
South African captain Graeme Smith was left "extremely disappointed".
"We have set really high standards for ourselves, but credit goes to Misbah and his boys, right from session one, they have been ahead in the game and played better cricket.
"Even though we showed good character in parts, our skills were not up to the mark," said Smith.
It was AB de Villiers who hit a fighting 90 to help South Africa avoid an innings defeat while Robin Peterson scored a valiant 47 not out but it only delayed Pakistan's win.
This is Pakistan's fourth win over South Africa in 22 Tests and also broke South Africa's 15 Tests unbeaten run since losing to Sri Lanka at Durban in December 2011.