Sarfraz acknowledged that a single warm-up game had not been enough to prepare Pakistan for South African conditions but he took heart from the second innings in which Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam scored impressive half-centuries.
Du Plessis, out for a pair during South Africa's six-wicket win in the first Test in Centurion, showed patience and resolve in an innings lasting six minutes short of six hours.
On the other hand, in the second Test, South Africa will have the services of Vernon Philander, who has taken 49 wickets in nine Test matches at Newlands with an average of 16.55.
Du Plessis scored a crucial 106 in South Africa's first innings at Newlands, but he will have to be replaced as captain in the third Test.
Du Plessis, however, was not to be denied as he marched inexorably towards his hundred, most notably with a series of rasping cover drives, which were unfurled in all their glory whenever Pakistan's quicks strayed in length.
"I still believe in a good contest in Test cricket but, again, we aren't at home so we don't have a say". Nearly 122 overs were being bowled by the seamers, making things hectic for the skipper and his team.
"I felt I batted the best in the a year ago".
Du Plessis suspended for South Africa's slow over rate
Following the Test series, the sides will meet in five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches.
Pakistan are bolstered by the return of pacer Mohammad Abbas, who missed the first Test with a shoulder injury.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has been suspended for one Test and fined 20 per cent of his match fee after his side were charged with a slow over rate in the nine-wicket second Test victory over Pakistan at Newlands.
In the past, Pakistan played at Cape Town thrice in January 2003, January 2007 and February 2013 but the victor was always South Africa.
"I haven't been back to South Africa in a cricketing capacity since 2010 and the standard of the wickets - the wicket we had at Centurion and the wicket here - I think haven't been good enough for Test cricket".
Theunis de Bruyn, opening in place of Aiden Markram, who suffered a badly bruised right thigh while fielding, made only four before he was caught off his glove by Sarfraz while attempting to pull a bouncer from Mohammad Abbas.