The decision to rest premier batsmen Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma backfired badly as India were precariously placed at 145 for six in reply to South Africa A's first innings total of 341 at stumps on the second day of the second 'Test' here on Sunday.
Ambati Rayudu (14 batting) and Perveez Rasool (0 batting) were at the crease during close of play as the visitors need another 47 runs to reach the magic figure of 192 in order to avoid follow on.
India lost five wickets for only 50 runs after being comfortably placed at 95 for one with skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (54) well set. The moment Indian captain was dismissed by left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks at the stroke of tea, the final session turned completely in favour of hosts.
The team management paid the price for resting last match's centurions Sharma and Raina along with in-form Dhawan.
While one of the replacements Dinesh Karthik (9) was dismissed by offie Simon Harmer caught by Rilee Russouw, the other Stuart Binny (0) was cleaned up playing to a wrong line.
Murali Vijay (4) and Ajinkya Rahane (36, 5x4), who got set, couldn't read the angle of left-arm seamer Hendricks' delivery. Wriddhiman Saha (14) was done in by pace of Kyle Abbott.
Pujara looked solid during his innings of 54 as he hit five fours facing 97 balls. One cover drive off Wayne Parnell stood out.
Earlier, South Africa finished their first innings on a healthy 341 after being down in the dumps at 97 for six. Parnell (91) and Harmer (96) added 186 runs for the seventh wicket to take the Proteas to a position of safety.
Both Parnell and Harmer were unlucky to miss out on what should have been well deserved centuries. Parnell faced 259 deliveries hitting 12 fours in the process before he nicked one to wicketkeeper Saha off seamer Ishwar Pandey's bowling.
Harmer, who is primarily an off-spinner was more attacking as he hit 13 fours and a six in his 168-ball knock before left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem trapped him leg before.
Pandey (3/67 from 24 overs) and Nadeem (3/99 from 30 overs) performed well while Siddharth Kaul and Perveez Rasool also got two wickets apiece.
Starting the day at 231 for six, Parnell and Harmer batted for a further 18 overs as they took the score to 283 before Harmer was finally sent back by Nadeem. In his next over Jharkhand left-arm spinner sent back Kyle Abbott.
When Parnell was finally became the ninth South African wicket to fall at the team score of 291, it seemed that Indian bowlers will be able to restrict the home side to less than 300. But Andrew Birch (44, 58 balls, 8x4) in company of Hendricks (10) added 50 runs for the last wicket to take the score closer to 350.