Three wickets in the morning session put South Africa in control of the first Test as India went to lunch on 82-3 in Mohali on Thursday.
It is the perfect start to the series for the Proteas, who suffered a few disruptions before the game, losing both Morne Morkel and JP Duminy who failed to recover in time from injury.
It meant Kagiso Rabada made his Test debut in the place of Morkel, but in a somewhat surprising move South Africa opted to include two specialist spinners, Imran Tahir completing his comeback to Test cricket and Simon Harmer retaining his place.
It means Dane Vilas will bat at No 6, giving South Africa a shorter than usual middle order.
The disruptions didn’t affect South Africa at all as Vernon Philander struck in the second over, removing Shikhar Dhawan for a duck caught at slip by Hashim Amla.
Amla opted to give Dean Elgar a bowl before Tahir and the moved paid off brilliantly as the left-arm spinner trapped Cheteshwar Pujara lbw for 31 to bring in birthday boy Virat Kohli much earlier than he would have hoped.
All the bowlers did reasonably well, even Rabada who didn’t show any outward signs of nerves except when he totally misjudged a ball in the field which led to a boundary off Philander.
The exciting youngster announced his arrival on the Test stage shortly after when he got the big wicket, that of Kohli for 1 caught at short extra cover by Dean Elgar.
A lack of pace caused Kohli to misjudge it, the ball staying low off the bat as Elgar took a good catch going down to his left.
It will be interesting to see how Tahir goes after lunch, but after losing the toss South Africa wil be very pleased with how things went in the first session.