At tea, India were comfortably placed at 184 for 5 against Rest of South Africa in a tour game ahead of Joburg Test, at Sedgars Park, Potchefstroom today.
Determined Dada dug in to play an innings of uncharacteristic restraint coupled with grace and knitted an unbeaten partnership of 125 runs with Pathan for the sixth wicket.
Stylish southpaw from Kolkata in his comeback game showed immense resolve in leaving the raising deliveries outside the off-stump and ducking the bouncers.
Ganguly, 'The god on off-side', as once Dravid called him for his off-drives and cuts, found gaps in an off-side field covered with seven fielders with eye catching cuts and drives.
Pathan, who missed selectors axe after a dismal show with both ball and bat in the previous series', negotiated pace and bounce cleverly en route to his half-century.
Earlier young seamer Mornie Morkel shattered Indian top order with his sheer pace. He claimed four wickets including the priced scalp of Tendulkar.
Nantie Hayward started the rot by having Wasim Jaffer (0) fall leg before wicket to a straight delivery.
Morkel rattled the timber of struggling Virender Sehwag (0) with a well-guided yorker to reduce the Indians to 2 for 1 in the second over.
Venkatsai Laxman (23) and Sachin Tendulkar (10) looked comfortable in their 35-run stand for the third wicket before Morkel induced an edge off the Mumbai player's bat only to be holed out to Justin Kemp stationed at second slip.
Laxman got out to a typical 'Laxman' dismissal, flirting with a rising delivery only to get faint edge to be caught by Kemp in second slips off Morkel.
Dhoni immediately followed Laxman to the pavilion after being holed out at slips once again off Morkel.
India 184 for 5 (Sourav Ganguly 70 n o, Irfan Pathan 54; Morkel 4 for 40) Vs Rest of South Africa