Cape Town: South Africa reduced India to 82/7 in their second innings at tea on the penultimate day of the opening cricket Test at Newlands here on Monday.
Stumper Wriddhiman Saha (8) perished just at the stroke of tea, even as Ravichandran Ashwin (1 not out) survived a few scary moments to head into the break undefeated.
Local boy Vernon Philander led the Proteas’ fightback with the quick dismissals of skipper Virat Kohli (28) and his deputy Rohit Sharma (10) before Kagiso Rabada joined the party with the wickets of Saha and all-rounder Hardik Pandya (1).
Philander, who had started the proceedings with the wicket of opener Murali Vijay (13), came back for his second spell to break the brief 32-run fourth wicket stand between Kohli and Sharma.
Kohli looked good during his 40-ball stay in the middle, striking four boundaries before Philander’s full ball caught him plumb in line with middle.
In his very next over, the pacer jolted India with the wicket of Sharma, who dragged a good length delivery on to his stumps.
Reduced to 76/5, India once again hoped for another Pandya show, similar to his 93 in the first essay, but a brilliant catch by de Villiers off Rabada proved fatal for the all-rounder.
Earlier, India survived a few early calls before losing the opening duo of Vijay (13) and Shikhar Dhawan (16) after a 30-run stand.
Dhawan was the first one to be back in the hut after being caught at gully by substitute fielder Chris Morris off a steeply rising delivery from Morkel.
Vijay then departed while trying to defend an outswinger from Philander, only to manage an edge for de Villiers to complete the catch at third slip.
Morkel then came back to reduce India to 39/3 after No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara (4) nicked an almost unplayable length delivery back to the stumper Quinton de Kock.
Thereafter, Kohli and Rohit joined forces to steer India’s ship before Philander’s twin strikes dashed their hopes.
Earlier, Indian pacers hunted in packs to restrict the hosts to 130 in their second essay.
Resuming from Saturday’s total of 65/2 after the third day’s play was completely washed out, the hosts failed to get going and could only manage to add 65 runs before losing the final eight wickets in the morning session.
Former skipper AB de Villiers (35) was the lone batsman offering some kind of resistance even as the Indian pacers led by Mohammed Shami (3/28) and Jasprit Bumrah (3/39) took full advantage of the conditions.
Brief Scores: South Africa 286, 130 (AB de Villiers 35, Aiden Markram 34, Dean Elgar 25; Mohammed Shami 3/28, Jasprit Bumrah 3/39) vs India 209, 82/7 (Virat Kohli 28, Shikhar Dhawan 16; Vernon Philander 3/22, Morne Morkel 2/29, Kagiso Rabada 2/30).