So India has managed its customary first game foul-up, only this time a stirring spell from Steyn and some incredible selection policy has didn't give them the opening to get away with a draw like they managed against Australia in 08, and Sri Lanka last year.
Such has been the ease with which South Africa dusted off the world number 1 team, that its hard to imagine a way back in the series. India's ranking is more a result of their recent form against some lesser teams. In reality they are close to South Africa and Australia, with England and Sri Lanka not that far behind.
Like south Africa last year, this year has started by giving India an opportunity to prove they deserve to be up there. We all saw how South Africa fared last year in the unfamiliar position of being on top, and looks like India might be heading the same way. There are still chances for India to stop that from happening but it is going to take a special effort to stop the SA bowling attack in next game, let alone the return series to SA at the end of this year.
India hasn't be helped by the injuries but that is part of the game. But they can only blame them selves for ludicrous selection and poor bowling on a helpful wicket. It is hard to see them winning the Nagpur test even if they had the first choice 11, so poor was the bowling effort.
With the focus now on Kolkata pitch, and India in a must win position, Graeme Smith jokingly said "are you telling me there's a guy with a rake at the Eden Gardens?". That may well turn out to be true as SA and Australia have famously found out in Kanpur '08 and Mumbai '04, but it might still not be enough to stop what is probably the best bowling attack in the world cricket. India can only hope more of their batsmen put their hand up, and spinners manage to 'turn up'. Addition of Laxman and Sreesanth should provide a boost but it would still need a effort close to that unforgettable Kolkata test to beat this confident in-form SA team.
Hopefully they are up for the fight..