A difficult chase awaits them, but that didn’t deter South Africa from being full of energy and fight in the second session on day three.
The fourth Test in Delhi is still massively swayed in India’s favour, but Hashim Amla and his players must be commended for their attitude after a dismal batting performance on Friday.
The body language and fielding has been good despite India (116-4) being 329 runs ahead at tea. Virat Kohli (39) and Ajinkya Rahane (22) are the two men at the crease.
Morne Morkel (3-22) was excellent again with ball in hand with intelligent game plans and mixing up his line and length to keep the batsmen guessing.
He also swung the ball to great effect and has been rewarded with three wickets. He took both wickets in the morning session and struck again after lunch. He set Shikhar Dhawan up with a brilliant yorker, the ball clipping the bail off the leg-stump to leave India on 53-3.
Morkel has done exceptionally well in this series in conditions that doesn’t really suit him and in the absence of Dale Steyn. His bowling has been one of the few positives to take from the tour and will fill him with confidence for the England series, which starts on 26 December.
Imran Tahir has also been bowled earlier and given more overs (13) in the second innings, which he has justified with a wicket and an economy rate under two runs an over.
Tahir bowled Cheteshwar Pujara for 28 with a delivery that kept low. Pujara didn’t help himself by playing on the back foot rather than playing forward, his feet stuck in the crease.
South Africa went about their business and celebrated their wickets like they still had a say in the game, but the grim reality is that it would take an exceptional batting performance to chase down India’s target.
They will have to score their highest total in the series and while they have the players to give it a go, their track record so far suggests they will struggle to get close.
India went to lunch on 51-2. Morkel got rid of Murali Vijay and Rohit Sharma in consecutive balls to lift the spirits of his teammates.