Cape Town - Rudi Second's crucial half-century led the South African 'A' fightback after a troubled start in the first unofficial Test against India 'A' in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Thanks to the wicket-keeper/batsman's gritty 94 (139 balls, 12 fours), the visitors recovered from 93/4 to end the first day on 246/8.
South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first in conditions that promised runs during the days leading up to the match.
It was not the start the visitors had hoped for as the Indian fast bowlers, led by Mohammed Siraj (5/56) quickly unsettled the top order. Pieter Malan (7) and Zubayr Hamza (0) fell to him within the first seven overs.
Sarel Erwee and Khaya Zondo recorded a 50-run, third-wicket partnership before the skipper became Navdeep Saini's first scalp of the match (2/47).
With wickets falling at the other end, Erwee looked headed to a hard-fought fifty before Rajneesh Gurbani (2/47) put an end to his charge just three runs short on 47 off 120 balls (7 fours).
Second entered the fray and teamed up with all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy (23), adding 59 runs for the fifth wicket to help rebuild the innings before another breakthrough from Saini saw the end of the latter.
Despite another developing partnership between Second and new man Shaun von Berg, which allowed the former to bring up his 29th first-class fifty, South Africa continued to lose wickets at regular intervals.
Off-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (1/54) removed von Berg for 15 before Gurbani trapped Dane Piedt for five.
Second's was the last wicket to fall on the opening day, as Mohammed Siraj once again found the batsman's edge with the right-hander departing six runs short of what would have been a well-deserved century.
Malusi Siboto (13*) and Beuran Hendricks (6) guided the visitors to stumps on Day One with two wickets remaining before India's best bowler wrapped up the tail early on the second day.