India were 13-1 at tea on day two of the first Test in Mohali, a lead of 30 runs after they bowled South Africa out for 184.
Vernon Philander struck just before tea to have Shikar Dhawan caught at slip for his second duck of the match. Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara will continue in the final session.
Dale Steyn didn’t take the field at the start of India’s second innings and it is unclear what the reason is. He didn’t receive any treatment and just watched proceedings from the dressing room.
They will look to set South Africa target of between 250 and 300, something which they feel they would be able to defend on a surface which is already playing like a day five pitch.
R Ashwin was India’s main destroyer, claiming figures of 5-51 to give India a slim first innings lead of 17 runs.
AB de Villiers top scored with a well played 63 off 83 deliveries, never allowing the Indian spinners to dominate him. He got more comfortable in the middle as the innings went on, but he needed better support from the other batsmen.
He shared a 29-run partnership with Vernon Philander, who was caught in the slips off what seemed on the replays like a no-ball.
Simon Harmer hung around for a while, scoring 34 runs with De Villiers before being trapped lbw by Mishra.
South Africa struggled to cope with the spin bowling of Ashwin, losing three wickets in the morning session to leave them on 127-5 at lunch.
Dean Elgar (37) and Hashim Amla (43) started the day well enough, surviving the first hour.
They were perhaps aided by Virat Kohli’s strange decision to not use Ashwin, instead starting the day with leg-spinner Amit Mishra and seamer Umesh Yadav. When Ashwin eventually came on it didn’t take him long to cause the batsmen some problems.
Elgar and Amla shared a crucial 76-run partnership, but Elgar went for an ambitious shot to be caught at backward point. Amla was then given out stumped by a ball which bounced off wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha’s chest and on to the stumps.
Ashwin struck again four balls later in the same over when Dane Vilas, in his first Test innings, got a top edge while trying to sweep through the line having scored just one.