South Africa needed just three balls on Friday to end India's first innings as cricket's top-ranked test team was blasted out for 136, minutes into the second day of the opening test at Centurion.
Morne Morkel had India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni lbw for 33 in the first over to give the lanky Proteas fast bowler career-best 5-20 off 12.4 overs.
India failed to add to its overnight score after limping to stumps at 136-9 from 38.1 overs on Thursday on the opening day of the three-test series with their last two batsmen - Dhoni and 19-year-old debutant Jaidev Unadkat - hanging on.
Unadkat was 1 not out at the end of the innings.
Morkel's display of hostile bowling in tandem with fellow fast bowler Dale Steyn (3-34) had stunned India on a lively Centurion pitch on day one.
South Africa's aggressive pace attack was aided by rain on a shortened day that provided extra movement on a pitch already suited to pace bowling.
Morkel ended India's first innings with a full delivery that angled in toward Dhoni's stumps and had the India skipper trapped lbw on the back foot.
The fast bowler had taken his 100th test wicket earlier in the innings - the 13th South African bowler to achieve the feat - and his 5-20 bettered a previous best of 5-50 vs. Bangladesh in 2008. He is playing his 29th test.
Sachin Tendulkar had topscored for India with 36 from 34 balls, with eight fours, before he became one of Steyn's three first-day wickets as India again struggled in a country where it has lost all four of its previous test series.