DURBAN, South Africa - Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara shared an unbeaten century partnership before bad light stopped play on the first day of the second and final Test against India at Kingsmead on Thursday.
India were 1-181 when play was brought to a premature end eight overs after tea.
Vijay (91 not out) and Pujara (58 not out) put on 140 for the second wicket as South Africa's bowlers toiled on a slow pitch which fast bowler Morne Morkel described as being similar to surfaces found in the Indian sub-continent.
"We as bowlers were a little surprised at the pace of the wicket," said Morkel.
"It was a little on the slow side. But as a bowling unit it is important for us to move away from those sort of things.
"The conditions are what they are and we need to deal with them. It was hard work."
Morkel said the ball quickly lost its shine on a dry surface, enabling the bowlers to gain reverse swing before the early close.
"After 13 overs the ball looked 60 overs old. We need to find a way to bring reverse swing into the game."
It was an inauspicious opening day for world champions South Africa after captain Graeme Smith said they were determined to put in a good performance to mark star all-rounder Jacques Kallis' last Test.
Kallis, 38, led the South Africans on to the field to the applause of his team-mates, spectators and umpires Steve Davis and Rod Tucker.
Morkel said the team had only heard that Kallis was about to retire two days before the game.
"It added ten per cent to my recovery (from injury) because I wanted to play this game for Jacques."
Indian bowling coach Joe Dawes said it had been a good toss for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to win and he was hoping for a good total.
"Then the pitch might break up a bit and our bowlers might get reverse swing."
Morkel claimed South Africa's only wicket when he had Shikhar Dhawan caught at third slip off the first ball after the mid-morning drinks break.