Cape Town - AB De Villiers, playing in his 100th Test match, stood man alone for the Proteas as they were outplayed by India in all three sessions on the opening day of the second Test match at Bangalore on Saturday.
At the close of play India were 80 without loss in their first innings after bowling South Africa out for 214.
Virat Kohli had taken a sizeable risk in opting to field first when he won the toss - something that captains seldom do on the sub-continent - but at the end of the day he could claim his tactic was fully justified.
He must have been looking to his three seamers to make inroads but it was the spinners who did the job, Ravi Ashwin and Ravendra Jadeja taking four each with only one falling to a spinner as there was also a run out.
The Proteas were never able to put a decent partnership together, their best being the 42 for the fifth wicket between De Villiers and JP Duminy.
Ashwin started the rot by taking two wickets in his first over and thereafter it was a general procession.
De Villiers looked as though he was batting on a different surface to the rest of his team-mates, finishing on 85 off 105 balls with 11 fours and a six. He was eventually dismissed to the last ball before the tea break.
In the process he passed 1 000 runs against India in Tests - the fifth country against whom he has achieved this, the others being England, Australia, the West Indies and Pakistan.
India strengthened their grip on the match by racing to 80 without loss in their reply off only 22 overs.
The Proteas were only able to create one chance when Imran Tahir dropped Murali Vijay at square leg off the bowling of Morne Morkel.
Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander (both injured) and Simon Harmer dropped out of the starting line-up compared to the side that played at Mohali.
Duminy and Morkel returned from injury while Kyle Abbott was rushed back into action in spite of only arriving in India less than 24 hours before the start of the match.