Steyn's six wickets swept the Indian lower order, after which Smith and Petersen got South Africa off to a solid start on a rain-curtailed day. (Getty Images)
Durban was dark and gloomy on Friday morning, but by the end of the day, the home fans returned having witnessed a fine spell of fast bowling from Dale Steyn that saw India's first innings folding up for 334, adding just 153 for the loss of nine wickets on a rain-shortened day.
South Africa won both the sessions on Friday after rain washed out first two hours of play. But excellent drainage at Kingsmead ensured play started immediately after an early lunch, and the sun was kind enough to let it continue well past the scheduled close.
India lost 90 for 4 in the post lunch session and then 5 for 63 in the last session to allow South Africa make a comeback after watching India reach a solid 181 for 1 at stumps on Thursday.
Murali Vijay was unlucky to miss his century by just three runs, while Cheteshwasr Pujara made 70. Rohit Sharma (0) erred on judgement to see his middle stump pegged back and Virat Kohli made 46 before standing in disbelief having nicked a leg-stump delivery to AB De Villiers.
Ajinkya Rahane was the only other batsman to make contribution of note with his maiden Test fifty. He remained not out at 51 while Dhoni made 24. Ravindra Jadeja and Zaheer Khan failed to trouble the scorers.
South Africa openers Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen replied positively to reach 81 for 0 at stumps, reducing the deficit to 252. Smith was batting at 35 and Petersen on 46 at the close of play.
Steyn had last taken a wicket in the first innings of the first Test at Johannesburg. Since then he bowled 69.2 overs giving away 217 runs before removing Pujara to end his barren spell.
Vijay and Pujara made a good start on day two in order to further their 140-run partnership. Despite the rain, the wicket didn't had much for the bowlers. But Steyn bowled a fiery and inspired spell to break his wicketless spell.
The first chance came in the second over of the day, when Murali Vijay drove past gully for a streaky boundary, beating Alviro Petersen. In Steyn's next over, Graeme Smith placed himself in place of Petersen and missed an even simpler chance, this time Pujara playing a shot wide outside the off-stump. The ball went for four and brought up their 150-run partnership.
Their partnership was finally broken in the 67th over, when Pujara was caught behind off Steyn driving the ball pitched outside the off-stump. Pujara scored 70 runs off 132 balls, with nine fours, putting up 157 runs with Vijay for the second wicket.
When South Africa starting their batting, Smith and Peterson gave them a quick start scoring runs all over the ground.
Both Smith and Peterson started hitting a couple of boundaries each off Zaheer Khan and Mohammed Shami in the first two overs to set the tone. Having been pegged back due to some inspirational bowling from the Proteas, the Indian bowlers looked clueless as it was total domination on the part of the South African openers as they hit 12 boundaries amongst themselves.
Both Zaheer (0/20 in 4 overs) and Shami (0/23 in 5 overs) were rendered ineffective with the new ball although Ishant Sharma (0/18 in 6 overs) did bowl a few good deliveries.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja's contribution in this Test match has been negligible till now as he failed to score a single run with the bat and bowled five wicketless overs for 20 runs. More imnportantly, the South African openers weren't threatened by Jadeja's left-arm spin.