India have taken advantage of a placid first-day Test pitch at at Kingsmead to move comfortably to 181-1 against South Africa's toiling bowlers, before bad light ended play.
During the opening day of the second Test match on Thursday, India's Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara made unbeaten half-centuries.
The pair shared an unbroken and relatively untroubled 140-run partnership for the second wicket to put India in control early in the deciding match of the short two-game series.
Vijay was 91 not out and approaching a century and Pujara 58 not out as India batted through the second and the curtailed third sessions without losing a wicket.
India's decision to bat first proved to be the correct call.
"The talk is that this was going to be a pretty flat one," India bowling coach Joe Dawes said.
"We knew that it was going to be something you want to get in on, bat well and bat first."
Morne Morkel had South Africa's only breakthrough before lunch when Shikhar Dhawan edged to Alviro Petersen at slip for 29 and 41-1, but Vijay and Pujara batted confidently for the best part of 48 overs after that as even overcast conditions through much of the afternoon in Durban did not offer any real help for the bowlers.
After the first Test draw in Johannesburg, it is winner-take-all in the second match between top-ranked South Africa and number two India.
Vijay and the in-form Pujara, who made 153 in the second innings of the drawn first test at the Wanderers, added 87 between lunch and tea and then another 18 runs after tea with only eight overs of the final session possible before bad light took the players off in mid-afternoon.
They were rarely in trouble and completely blunted South Africa's fast bowlers on a tame track.
Morkel said that his team just needed to deal with the conditions.
"It's going to be tough to strike," Morkel said.
"It's crucial we have a strong mindset now."