Nagpur: Ashwin and Jadeja get rid of South African opener van Zyl and night watchman Imran Tahir cheaply on the opening day of the third Test against South Africa in Nagpur on Wednesday
South Africa were 11 for 2 at stump, trial by 204-runs.
Earlier, India were bowled out for 215 in their first innings during the post-tea session.
Murali Vijay top-scored with 40 after the hosts won the toss and elected to bat on a dry, dusty pitch at the VCA stadium.
Off-spinner Simon Harmer claimed four wickets for 78 runs and fast bowler Morne Morkel took three for 35.
Morkel made up for the absence of his unfit speed partner Dale Steyn to negate India's initial advantage of batting first.
The Proteas, who would have batted had they won the toss, removed openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay in the morning session which ended with India on 85 for two.
But four wickets fell in the post-lunch period as the batsmen struggled to put bat to ball on a first-day pitch that already shows cracks and continues to deteriorate.
Dhawan and Vijay put on 50 for the first wicket before South Africa hit back to remove both batsmen in the space of 19 runs.
Left-arm spinner Dean Elgar took a low return catch to dismiss Dhawan for 12, before Morkel got rid of the settled Vijay for 40.
Vijay smashed Harmer for the first six of the match and also hit three fours before he was trapped plumb in front of the wicket by a full-length delivery from Morkel.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who was unbeaten on 18 at lunch, added just three more runs after the break before playing back to Harmer to be leg-before.
Ajinkya Rahane brought up India's 100 with a six off Harmer but his off-stump was sent cartwheeling by Morkel when he reached 13.
Morkel then had skipper Virat Kohli caught behind by Dane Vilas for 22 and Harmer had Rohit Sharma caught at short-leg.
India were reeling at 125-6 before Wriddhiman Saha (32) and Ravindra Jadeja (34) steadied the ship by building a 48-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
Earlier, India brought in Amit Mishra to partner Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja in a three-man spin attack, and also included Rohit Sharma to bolster the batting.
Mishra and Sharma replaced all-rounder Stuart Binny and fast bowler Varun Aaron.
South Africa also strengthened their spin attack, including Harmer in place of seamer Kyle Abbott.
India lead the four-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Mohali by 108 runs. The rain-hit second game in Bangalore was drawn.
India - 215 (Harmer 4-78, Morkel 3-35)
South Africa - 11 for 2
Status - South Africa trial by 204-runs