India forged well ahead despite being bowled out for 174 in its second innings earlier in the day. India had already carved out a first-innings lead of 130 after it made 327 batting first and then bowled out South Africa for 197 in its first innings.
More than anything, India’s struggles in its second innings was an indication that the SuperSport Park surface was getting more and more difficult to bat on. South Africa’s batsmen faced a stiff challenge against the likes of Shami and India spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, who recovered from an ankle injury on the third day to take the new ball with Shami.
Rishabh Pant top-scored for India with 34 in its second innings, while Kagiso Rabada and test debutant Marco Jansen took four wickets each for South Africa to limit the damage and give the home team a sliver of hope.
Jansen recorded figures of 1/69 and 4/55 in the match. He joined the likes of Allan Donald, Lance Klusener and Vernon Philander among others who took 5 wickets on Test debut.
The entire second day of the series-opener was washed out by rain but the game has still progressed rapidly since then and India had more than enough time to force a win and take a crucial series lead.
All three tests will be played without fans because of COVID-19 and specifically the spread of the omicron variant in South Africa, where it was first identified.
Organizers had initially planned to allow in a limited number of spectators but that was foiled by the emergence of the new variant.