Indian bowlers managed just one wicket even as retiring all-rounder Jacques Kallis and A B de Villiers' 127-run fourth wicket stand helped South Africa reach 267 for four at tea on day three of their second and final cricket Test here today.
Countering the loss of three wickets in the first session, the two batsmen brought up their half-centuries in the post-lunch session and the Proteas now trail by only 67 runs, after India scored 334 runs in their first innings.
Kallis was unbeaten on 61 runs, off 180 balls with nine fours. JP Duminy (13) was giving him company at the other end after de Villiers departed following a 117-ball 74, studded with nine boundaries.
Ravindra Jadeja (3-77) was the pick of the Indian bowlers, with Mohammad Shami (1-62) the only other wicket-taker of the innings.
Zaheer Khan (0-46) and Ishant Sharma (0-65) toiled hard, but failed to provide any breakthroughs. Rohit Sharma (0-11) was again deployed in this session as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni seemed to be missing a second spinner on this dry pitch.
After the lunch break, Kallis and de Villiers looked set for a big partnership, starting from the 68-run mark.
South Africa started at 181/3 as the runs came in quickly. Both batsmen stroked boundaries at will, as the pace bowlers searched for some reverse swing. Zaheer was punished in particular, but de Villiers also aggressive intent against Jadeja, not letting the spinners settle down.
He brought up his half-century in the 62nd over of the innings. It was his 34th fifty in 89 Tests. The 100-run partnership came three overs later, as runs continued to come unabated.
In their eagerness to score quickly, South Africa almost lost a wicket when the two batsmen were involved in a huge mix-up in the 69th over.
De Villiers nudged the ball and set off for a run, then stopped, but Kallis kept going. Zaheer failed to hit the stumps, as the first hour after lunch resulted in 55 runs.
Jadeja finally broke their partnership, in the 74th over. De Villiers prodded forward and was caught at first slip by Virat Kohli. He scored 74 runs off 117 balls, with nine fours. Duminy was the next man in and saw away the remaining session before tea without any fuss, putting on 27 runs for the fifth wicket.
At the other end, with the crowd roaring for him, Kallis brought up his half-century in the 76th over, off 131 balls hitting nine fours. It was his 59th fifty in his 166th and final Test.
In the morning session, Graeme Smith (47) and Alviro Petersen (62) looked to further increase their opening stand. The latter reached his seventh half-century in 28 Tests, but should have been out in the 24th over, fourth of the morning, even as the third umpire ruled him not out off a very close stumping call.
The 100-run opening stand came in the 27th over, and in the very next, Jadeja, who had been looking to take a wicket, finally struck.
Smith went for a big shot over mid-on, but only sent the ball in the air over mid-wicket which Shikhar Dhawan caught stupendously, running backwards. Shami then bowled Hashim Amla (3) off the last ball of the 33rd over.
Jacques Kallis came out to bat in his last Test and the Indian team lined up to salute the legendary all-rounder. At the other end, Jadeja induced an edge off Petersen that Murali Vijay held at first slip.
The first Test of the series, played at Johannesburg, was drawn, after a pulsating fifth day, wherein South Africa just stopped eight runs short of a world-record fourth innings' chase after India had set them a target of 458 runs.