Cape Town - Sachin Tendulkar battled his way to 94 not out but a freak run-out shortly before lunch slowed India's progress on the third day of the third and final Test against South Africa at Newlands on Tuesday.
India reached 237 for four at lunch, 125 behind South Africa's first innings total of 362.
Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir survived some hostile bowling from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel at the start of the day, with both batsmen beaten several times.
But they were able to add 62 runs to their overnight partnership of 114 before Gambhir was caught behind off left-arm slow bowler Paul Harris for 93.
The left-handed opening batsman seldom looked totally in command during an innings which spanned 318 minutes and 223 balls with 12 fours but it was a crucial contribution as India sought their first series win in South Africa.
Harris had a hand in the second wicket of the day shortly before the interval when Tendulkar hit a scorching straight drive which the bowler deflected into the stumps with VVS Laxman, who was backing up, well out of his crease.
Laxman, man of the match when India won the second Test in Durban by 87 runs, was the second player in successive matches to be run out in this fashion, with South Africa's Jacques Kallis the victim In the first innings in Durban.
It was not Tendulkar's most fluent innings but he showed the temperament that has made him the leading run-scorer in Test cricket as he faced 208 balls in an innings lasting more than five hours.
South Africa bowled accurately as India added 95 runs in 32 overs on a hot morning, cloudless morning.