India put up a lacklustre display of batting in Day 4's first session of play, losing a flurry of wickets for low scores with only Tendulkar holding fort amidst the ruins. The Little Master was not out on 38 as India went into lunch at a disappointing 277/6 in 77.5 overs.
On the morning of Day 4, India had their work cut out. The visiting side had to make up the deficit of 294 and then hopefully, surpass the hosts' total. Nightwatchman Ishant Sharma, batting on 7, and Rahul Dravid an overnight score of 28, got off to a confident enough start. Sharma even hit the first four of the day courtesy a cover-drive off paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
That shot took India past 200. But Sharma didn't have the verve to last much longer. When fiery speedster Dale Steyn returned, Sharma tried to take him on by slapping him for a boundary past point. But in the next ball, Steyn had his man as Hashim Amla snapped him up at square leg. The nightwatchman was sent off duty for 23 and India were at 214/3 in 54.4 overs as Sachin Tendulkar trudged out to the wicket.
Rahul Dravid looked set to play the long innings, but caved into the bowling of Morne Morkel in the 65th over when the batsman was caught behind for 43. India were in trouble at 242/4 when VVS Laxman came out to bat. He took India past 250 with two blistering boundaries - one, between mid-off and extra cover and one, backward of square leg. But that was apparently, all he had to contribute as paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe accounted for his wicket in the 73rd over when he had him caught by Ashwell Prince in the slips.
At 255/5, India was desperate for a decent partnership as an out-of-form Suresh Raina walked to the crease. As expected, Raina's poor form continued to dog him as he was caught at slip off Jacques Kallis for 5, leaving India in shambles at 277/6 in 77.5 overs. Hopes of Indian recovery were steadily fading as the visitors went in for lunch. South Africa have a good chance of wrapping up the test in the afternoon session, unless Tendulkar and the remaining batsman pull off something spectacular.