Openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal struck half-centuries as India calmly reached 157 for two at tea on the opening day of the first Test against South Africa at Centurion Park on Sunday.
Rahul (68) and captain Virat Kohli (19 not out) will look to add to their third-wicket partnership of 40 after South Africa claimed two wickets in two balls in an otherwise toothless bowling display on a slow wicket.
Agarwal (60) was trapped lbw by Lungi Ngidi after putting on 117 with Rahul for the first wicket against a toiling home attack who battled to create opportunities in the morning session.
Agarwal was dropped on 36 by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, denying debutant left-arm seamer Marco Jansen his first test scalp.
But he left the field vigorously shaking his head after a review from South Africa suggested a delivery from Ngidi was striking the top of leg stump to see him trapped leg before.
After waiting 242 deliveries for their first wicket, the home side got a second immediately when Cheteshwar Pujara pushed forward to Ngidi and was caught off the glove by Keegan Petersen at short leg.
Pujara had only been out first ball once before in his 92-test career – run out by Ngidi at Centurion Park in 2018.
The home side would have hoped for a flurry of wickets as they finally bowled fuller and attacked the stumps.
But Rahul, who averaged 7.50 in four innings in South Africa three years ago, and Kohli steadied India again as the sun came out following an overcast morning.
The tall Jansen bowled wildly at times, but also without much luck. He was preferred to Duanne Olivier after the latter had been expected to play his first test since 2019 following a spell in English cricket.
The touring side are hoping to secure a first test series win in South Africa with matches to follow in Johannesburg and Cape Town.