AB De Villiers played a lone hand once again, belying the conditions and situation, to make batting look beautiful and easy, but it was all India on day one of this second Test match in Bengaluru.
After South Africa lost three wickets for little on day one morning, it was all on De Villiers to fashion an only-he-can-do-that innings again, and he stood up once again, scoring 85 (105b, 11x4, 1x6), before Ravindra Jadeja got one to bounce a little, take that inside edge and lob onto the pad, which Wriddhiman Saha held onto diving forward, leaving South Africa on 177/7 in 51.3 overs, before they were bowled out for 214 in 59 overs.
India had plenty to do with the bat to ensure they won the opening day of this 2nd Test outright, and didn't they do just that as the openers – Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan – amidst the South Africa bowling barrage, led by a feisty Morne Morkel, eased their way to close of play on 80/0 in 22 overs.
Dhawan (45, 62b, x4), in particular, needed to score after two ducks in the Mohali Test, and the left-hander made some good decisions, leaving the bulk of the deliveries outside off, while waiting for this wayward ones to put away. Vijay (28, 73b, 5x4) was his usual normal composed self, even if he was dropped on 21 by Imran Tahir, showing once again what a vital batsman he has become in India's Test match scheme of things.
Virat Kohli had no hesitation in asking South Africa to bat on a pitch that was bound to have some moisture considering the amount of rain that has fallen in Bangalore over the last week or so.
Ishant Sharma and Stuart Binny, selected in place of Amit Mishra as Kohli chose an extra seam option and batting one as well, opened the bowling for India, and while they kept things tight, there wasn't much trouble for the openers Dean Elgar and Stiaan Van Zyl.
Sensing something needed to change, Kohli brought on R Ashwin (15-2-53-3), and the off-spinner struck in his first over, not once, but twice.
First to go was Van Zyl (10, 20b, 2x4), trapped in front after again misreading a ball that went on with the angle and straightened just a touch, with Du Plessis (0, 3b)then picking up another duck to his name as he fell to a brilliant catch from Cheteshwar Pujara at short leg.
The stage was set for Hashim Amla (7, 18b, 1x4) to play one of those long Test innings and dig South Africa out of trouble, however, those hopes faded when Varun Aaron produced the delivery of the match so far – the one that comes in on the angle and then just straightens enough to beat the batsman's outside edge and strike timber.
At 45/3, the pressure was on De Villiers (19 n.o., 27b, 2x4) to deliver, yet again, for South Africa, and the right-hander went about doing just that, putting on 33 unbeaten runs with Elgar (38 n.o., 79b, 2x4, 1x6) to take his team to 78/3 in 24 overs at Lunch.
Elgar could not stay with De Villiers for much longer, as the left-hander fell to Jadeja first over after Lunch, with JP Duminy taking over the I-got-to-hang-around-with-ABD-for-as-long-as-possible job. The left-hander did that reasonably well, putting on 42 with the main man, before Ashwin got one to spin and bounce and take the outside edge, which was safely pouched by Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.
Another 39 runs were added between De Villiers and wicketkeeper Dane Vilas, but again, just when it looked like a partnership was blossoming, a wicket fell, with Jadeja (12.3-1-36.3) again picking one up.
The prized wicket, though, would come in the third ball of the final over before Tea, as De Villiers spooned a bat-pad up to send a roar amongst the crowd, before everyone got up on their feet to cheer another special ABD innings.
Kagiso Rabada fell a couple of balls into Tea, before Kyle Abbott (14, 40b, 2x4) and Morne Morkel (22, 20b, 3x4) put on a quickfire 37 runs to at least push South Africa's score beyond 200 for the first time in this series.