Cape Town - India were 231-7 at stumps on the opening day of the fourth and final Test against South Africa at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi on Thursday.
The Proteas recalled Kyle Abbott and Dane Piedt to the starting line-up in place of Kagiso Rabada and Simon Harmer respectively and it turned out to be inspirational moves.
The pair shared all seven wickets to fall as India closed the day six overs early because of bad light after Virat Kohli had won his fourth toss in a row.
Piedt finished the day with figures of four for 101 in 34 marathon overs which means he has taken four wickets in all three of the Test innings of his career to date.
He already has 12 career wickets from what amounts to just under three Test innings. And he should have had his first five-wicket haul as first umpire Kumar Dharmasena failed to spot a gloved chance to short leg and then Hashim Amla dropped a chance at slip offered by India’s top scorer, Ajinkya Rahane.
Abbott had the outstanding figures of three for 23 from his 17 overs and was a threatening force throughout the day.
The Proteas made a third change in bringing in Temba Bavuma as opening batsman in place of Stiaan van Zyl and he too played a role on the first day with his bravery and remarkable reflexes at short leg that led to the freak dismissal of Kohli (44) just when the Indian captain was well set.
The pitch looked to be a reasonably good one for batting although final judgment on that will have to wait until both sides have batted.
But, when the Proteas had India 139 for six at tea, having taken five for 79 in the session, they must have been well pleased with their work and have anticipated chasing down a small first innings target before the close.
However, the last session was a big one for India as Rahane took charge with a mixture of determined defence and aggressive counter-attack to finish the day with the highest individual innings of the series to date - 89 not out.
If he does go on to complete his fifth Test century, it will be his first on home soil. This is already his first half-century in India.
India scored 92 for one in the final session to take the advantage of the first day and the Proteas will not want them to get much beyond 250.
The second new ball is immediately available and both the quicks and the spinners will relish the chance to bowl with a harder ball.
The one thing that really cost the Proteas was the fact that Piedt, Abbott and Morne Morkel bowled 68 of the 84 overs sent down and they were a tired trio by the end of the day’s play.
It was remarkable that Piedt kept going as well as he did because he has not had the chance to bowl a lot of overs in a day’s play for a long time.
India - Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.
South Africa - Hashim Amla (captain), Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Dane Vilas, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Temba Bavuma, Kyle Abbott, Dane Piedt.
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI) and Bruce Oxenford (AUS)
TV umpire: C.K. Nandan (IND)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)