Chennai, Mar 27 : Delhi blaster Virender Sehwag scored a brilliant half-century to help take India to 82 for no loss at stumps on Day 2 in reply to South Africa's total of 540 runs.
Wasim Jaffer, who looked in his technical best, picking up boundaries with ease, aptly supported him.
Sehwag started with a crisp cover-drive for four before rocking back to carve Makhaya Ntini over third man for six. A magnificent square drive off Dale Steyn and a couple of rasping cuts also roused the crowd, and Jaffer was quick to follow suit at the other end.
With both the teams looking solid in the batting department, Day 3 would surely be a thriller for cricket aficionados.
It took India 12.5 overs after tea to wrap up the South African innings, with the slow bowlers doing the honours. By then though, the score was such that India needed to think of survival first.
Mark Boucher and Morne Morkel stretched their partnership to 54 before Boucher's attempt to swip Sehwag over midwicket ballooned off the top edge to Rahul Dravid behind the stumps.
Morkel then chipped a return catch to Harbhajan Singh after having made 35, and it was left to Dale Steyn to swell the total a little more with some hefty slogs, the pick of which was an impudent reverse-slog-sweep off Harbhajan.
Harris, reprieved earlier after gloving one to slip, was caught behind, and Harbhajan then had Steyn caught in the deep to complete a five wicket haul.
A chanceless 159 from Hashim Amla, his first century against a team other than New Zealand, was the springboard for two more sessions of South African dominance as India once again wilted in the Chennai heat.
He added 99 with Boucher, who stroked a composed half-century, and with AB de Villiers contributing a boundary-filled 44, South Africa had pretty much batted India out of contention by teatime.
Amla's grip on proceedings was absolute, and with RP Singh and Sreesanth providing comical examples of how not to stop the ball in the outfield, the scoreboard ticked along merrily.
The ease with which the runs came was embarrassing and Anil Kumble was reduced to bowling into the pads from round the wicket to try and limit the damage.