Proteas in a spin against India on day 2

Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three quick wickets to improve India’s chances of a positive result.

Proteas' batman Hashim Amla, makes a run during the opening day of the first test on 5 November 2015. Picture: CSA Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three quick wickets to improve India's chances of a positive result in the opening test as the hosts reduced South Africa to 127 for five at lunch on the second day on Friday.

South Africa were bowled out for 184.

The Proteas, who resumed on 28-2 after dismissing the hosts for 201, appeared set for a first-innings lead through a stubborn third-wicket stand of 76 between Dean Elgar (37) and captain Hashim Amla (43) before Ashwin struck.

The 29-year-old, who had dismissed Stiaan van Zyl overnight, sent back Elgar after the opening batsman had kept India at bay for 75 minutes in the first session along with Amla.

India captain Virat Kohli opted not to open with Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who have looked the most likely to pick up wickets on a Mohali pitch offering plenty of assistance to the spin bowlers, but soon found success once he did turn to them.

Elgar survived some nervous moments until he attempted a rash slog-sweep against Ashwin, with the ball taking a top edge and falling into the hands of Jadeja at short third man.

Amla looked unperturbed and displayed a solid technique against the Indian slow bowlers before he fell in a freakish way to the off-spinner.

The right-hander danced down the track but missed the ball, which hit wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha's chest to drop on the off-stump with Amla short of his crease.

Ashwin also dismissed wicketkeeper Dane Vilas (1) in the same over for his fourth wicket, after the batsman top-edged a sweep for Jadeja to complete a tumbling catch at short fine leg.

AB de Villiers (26) lived a charmed life but survived until the break with Vernon Philander (two) for company.

De Villiers, who was in superb form during the recent limited-overs series, survived a confident appeal for caught behind off Jadeja before he had opened his account.

After a few more loud leg before appeals against him were turned down, De Villiers finally edged the left-arm spinner to Kohli but was given not out again after replays showed the bowler had marginally overstepped during the delivery.