Indian bowlers continued their stellar show as Jasprit Bumrah restricted South Africa's lead to a bare minimum with his maiden five-wicket haul, keeping the visitors in the contest after an engaging second day's play in the third and final cricket Test.
In reply to India's 187, South Africa didn't fare any better being all-out for 194 in 65.5 overs with their lead being an insignificant seven runs. The Indian top-order showed more application as they were 49 for 1 at stumps with an overall lead of 42 runs.
Murali Vijay (13 batting, 49 balls) was in company of KL Rahul (16 batting, 38 balls). The team management wanted to shield Rahul from the new ball bowlers by sending Parthiv Patel (16) to open the innings but the plan didn't work as he quickly removed by Vernon Philander.
Rahul-Vijay left the ball well and showed more patience than the first innings as they batted out 12 overs. They added 32 runs for the second wicket, running judiciously between the wickets and hitting 3 boundaries together.
On a pitch that is offering extensive lateral movement, a target of 175 could prove to be a match-winning for India. Playing only his third Test match, Bumrah polished the lower-middle order with figures of 5 for 54 in 18.5 overs ably complemented by Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/44 in 19 overs).
While Bumrah's maximum victims were at the rear of the Proteas innings, Bhuvneshwar inflicted the early damage including a beautiful indipper that knocked back AB de Villiers' (5) middle-stump.
Hashim Amla (61, 121 balls) batted with grit and determination and was given good support by nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada (30) during the first session, when they had added 64 runs for the third wicket.
This was after Bhuvneshwar had removed Dean Elgar with a beauty, a delivery that pitched on the leg-middle, induced him to go for a drive and got an edge.
However, Amla got good support from Rabada, who frustrated the Indian bowlers for a good 114 minutes during the first session of the day. Amla also added 44 runs for the seventh wicket with Vernon Philander (35), who unleashed a flurry of strokes as the home team crossed 150-run mark in the 56th over.
Amla then gifted his wicket away, flicking straight to Hardik Pandya at deep square leg off Bumrah in the 60th over much to Indian team's delight. It was the least threatening delivery that the batsman had faced in his grinding 121-ball knock.
Philander though continued his attacking ways and in all he hit five boundaries during his 55-ball stay. He was next to go, out caught pulling Mohammed Shami (1/46) as Bumrah completed a running catch in the deep.
Andile Phehlukwayo (9) and Morne Morkel (9*) pushed the score past India's 187-marker before Bumrah wrapped things up in the 66th over.
He trapped Phehlukwayo leg before off a full toss and two balls later Lungi Ngidi (0) was caught behind as Parthiv Patel completed a fine diving catch to his left. Bumrah had previously struck twice in the middle session as South Africa reached 143 for 6 at tea.
Post lunch, India made a hectic start to the second session as Ishant Sharma (1/33) had a loud appeal for lbw against De Villiers (5) turned down on the very fourth ball. The visitors didn?t opt for DRS, which the replays showed to be a mistake with 'three reds'.
South Africa crossed 100 in the 40th over, but lost another wicket quickly as Bumrah bowled Faf du Plessis (8), out shouldering arms to an off-cutter. In between though, Amla got another two lbw reprieves to go with the one in morning session.
First, in the 35th over, he was (on 33) was deemed not out off Bhuvneshwar even as the ball seemed to be clipping the leg stump. The decision stayed in his favour on umpire's call. In the 41st over then, Amla (then on 41) was adjudged lbw off Kumar once again. But the batsman referred DRS and the ball was missing off-stump, so he got another life.
He used this to hold the South African innings together and scored his 37th Test half-century off 98 balls.
Amla added 18 runs with Quinton de Kock (8) who had a couple flashy boundaries to his credit. He was soon caught behind off Bumrah as South Africa were reduced to 125/6. India's fight-back though was cut short as Philander added 18 runs with Amla until tea.
This was after night watchman Kagiso Rabada (30 runs, 84 balls, 6 fours) played out 114 minutes of the morning session as South Africa had reached 81/3 at lunch.