Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara shared an unbeaten century partnership before bad light stopped play on the first day of the second and final Test against India at Kingsmead on Thursday.
India were 181 for one when the day's play was brought to a premature end eight overs after tea.
Vijay (91 not out) and Pujara (58 not out) put on 140 for the second wicket as South Africa's bowlers toiled on an unresponsive pitch after Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss.
It was an inauspicious opening day for world champions South Africa after captain Graeme Smith said the team were determined to put in a good performance to mark star all-rounder Jacques Kallis' last Test.
Kallis, 38, announced on Wednesday that he would retire from Test cricket after the match, although he will continue to play one-day cricket in an effort to be selected for the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Kallis led the South African team on to the field at the start of play to the applause of his teammates, spectators and umpires Steve Davis and Rod Tucker.