SA were 1 for no loss at lunch with openers Smith and McKenzie surviving the lone over bowled by Sreesanth.
Steyn, who rattled Indians with pace and inswingers, reaped a rich harvest of 5/23. Ntini (3/18) with his big inswingers scripted the collapse while young Morkel (2/20) accounted for well set Dhoni and Kumble.
Only Pathan, who replaced injured Tendulkar, had the stomach to fight but he was left stranded at the crease with 21 as Steyn polished the tail in quick succession.
The SA seamers made most of the conditions on a seamer-friendly wicket and was also aided by spineless Indian line-up in their cause.
India skipper Anil Kumble, who was declared match fit, was ill-advisedly opted to bat first on a green-top. Hosts lost both the openers within the first five overs.
Ntini started the rot dismissing Jaffer caught Smith in slip cordon for nine in the fourth over of the innings. In the following over
Steyn accounted for dangerman Sehwag after the triple centurion dragged the inswinging delivery on to stumps.
Ntini then sent the old horses Laxman and Ganguly packing in the eventful eighth over of the innings to leave India reeling on 30/4.
Dravid, who failed to read the wicket despite spending some time on the wicket,was bowled through the gates to disturb 'The Wall's off stump.
The first change bowler Morne Morkel too joined the party removing Dhoni for a regulation caught behind and then bowled skipper Kumble.
Steyn then chopped off the tail to skittle out India for their lowest total against the African giants.
Earlier, India picked all-rounder Irfan Pathan in place of the injured Sachin Tendulkar. Pathan's inclusion gives the hosts an extra seam bowling option on what promises to be a sporting wicket.
The tourists retained the team that rallied for a draw in the opening game.
The first Test produced nearly 1,500 runs on a placid pitch with India's Virender Sehwag cracking the fastest recorded triple century in Test cricket.
The final Test will be played in Kanpur.
Brief Scores (Ist session, D-1):
India Ist innings 76 all out (Pathan 21 n o, Dhoni 14; Steyn 5 for 23, Ntini 3 for 18, Morkel 2 for 20) Vs South Africa 1 for no loss.
India: Wasim Jaffer, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, Vangipurappu Laxman, Mahendra Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble (capt), Harbhajan Singh, Rudra Pratap Singh and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Paul Harris and Makhaya Ntini.