In Cape Town, Meerut quick had claimed six-wicket and scored 38 runs amid tough conditions. Shortly after de Kock succumbed to Ashwin and then Philander ran himself out to give the tourists the upper hand.
It is only the second match in India's 12-Test long overseas schedule in 2018-19, and already they are faced with a must-not-lose situation in a bid to keep this series alive.
India lost the first Test match at Cape Town by 72 runs when they were bowled out 135 chasing 209. Even the spin that he got was from the dampness in the morning session, and he had to work harder in the second half of the day.
Markram, who was raised just a few kilometres from the Centurion Park stadium, will resume after the interval on 51 along with a more cautious Dean Elgar, who has 26.
Pandya, fielding the ball on the leg side in his follow through, athletically flung down the stumps at the bowler's end in one action, sending Amla on his way.
Be it Sachin Tendulkar or cricket great Don Bradman, Indian skipper Virat Kohli has often been compared to legendary cricketers because of his form and batting style.
"It's all part of the game".
South Africa have won the toss and they have made a decision to bat first once again.
Ishant is the only bowler in the Indian line-up who has already toured South Africa twice.
Asked about a sixth specialist batsman coming in or India going into the Test without a spinner, Kohli replied, "Look all kind of situations are possible...what are the pros and cons that come along with the scenarios".
After a satisfying day with the ball, off-spinner R. Ashwin said, given his disappointments in this part of the world in the past, he wanted to make a fresh beginning in this series. He bowled 31 overs. It could so easily have been a day where they ran away with it in the second session, " Ashwin said. Ashwin struck again when Markram (94), desperately unlucky to miss out on a century, nicked off to the 'keeper Parthiv Patel while brushing pad with his bat.
"Massively disappointed, " he said. So might as well be ready when I get an opportunity.
Ashwin too probed Elgar, and in the 24th over, had a caught-behind appeal turned down. His 42-run partnership with Keshav Maharaj was the main reason South Africa crossed 300.