South Africa's fast bowlers wreaked havoc on India's experienced batting line-up, reducing them to 136-9 on the rain-hit first day of the opening Test in Centurion yesterday.
The home team used the conditions to their advantage as Morne Morkel took four vital wickets – including his 100th – and Dale Steyn claimed three to back their captain Graeme Smith's decision to bowl first after winning the toss.
Only Sachin Tendulkar (36) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (33 not out) showed some resistance before the play ended early due to bad light. The rain-curtailed opening day saw only 38.1 overs being bowled in the two sessions that were possible after the morning session was washed out by the overnight and morning rains.
India had a dismal start, losing Virender Sehwag for a duck in the third over of the match when the opener slashed hard at a Morkel delivery only to be caught by Hashim Amla at third man.
Gautam Gambhir had a forgettable outing despite being lucky to be ruled not out on two occasions when replays suggested the decisions could have easily gone in favour of the bowling side.
The opening batsman and Rahul Dravid defied the bowlers for 10 overs, but the 23-run stand came to an end when Gambhir edged Morkel to Paul Harris at first slip and in his next over the bowler snared Dravid lbw to leave India tottering on 27-3.
Tendulkar and VVS Laxman tried to stop the rot and the former attempted a counter-attack either side of the tea break, but India's woes were far from over.
A mini-collapse followed and three wickets fell in as many overs to reduce India to 71-6.
Laxman was the first to go, clean bowled by Steyn, and the new batsman Suresh Raina lasted just five balls and handed Jacques Kallis his first wicket of the match.
Tendulkar, who looked set for a bigger innings, was rapped on the pad in front while on 36 off only 34 balls by a fiery inswinger from Steyn.
Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh took India past the 100-run mark with some unorthodox batting and the off-spinner tried to take the attack to the opposition by hitting a boundary and a six off Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
But the hope of a late flourish was dashed by a bizarre run-out that exposed Harbhajan's poor running skills after he was caught short of his crease by an agile Mark Boucher, who under-armed an Alviro Petersen throw onto the stumps.
The march of the batsmen back to the pavilion continued as Ishant Sharma and Shantha Sreesanth – both scoreless – did not have the technique to face Morkel, who added two more wickets to his tally.
Dhoni was joined by debutant Jaidev Unadkat and the Indian skipper tried to lend some respectability to the total by playing aggressively and put on 30 runs for the unbroken 10th-wicket stand.
Cricket's lawmakers could introduce lie detector tests in a bid to root out corruption from the sport.
Admitting to concerns over the sport's reputation, an MCC committee also called for better education and for captains to take more responsibility.
Other suggestions included the legalising and regulating of betting markets in India and the inclusion of anti-corruption clauses in contracts.
The laws sub-committee will consider the recommendations in February.