Dale Steyn could spend the rest of the Mohali Test as a spectator after picking up a groin strain in the field on the second day. Steyn did not bowl at all in India's second innings as a "precaution," according to the CSA Twitter feed at the time, but the post-day analysis appears more serious.
"I think he's struggling. I think he has got a groin strain and I can't see him bowling tomorrow," Claude Henderson, South Africa's spin consultant, said.
The news will come as a blow to South Africa, who are looking to limit India's lead, which has already reached 142 by the end of the second day, and may have looked to Steyn to generate reverse swing. They will not lack for an option in out and out pace though, with Kagiso Rabada bowling at around 145 kph plus.
Steyn's absence will leave Vernon Philander to lead the attack, with Morne Morkel missing the match through injury and will force South Africa to rely more heavily on spin. Henderson hopes legspinner Imran Tahir, who has taken three wickets so far but has been used sparingly by Hashim Amla, will have the opportunity to make more of an impact.
"Imran Tahir has just come back into Test cricket. He is seen as an attacking bowler by Hashim, so maybe that's why he is using him in short spells, and Dean Elgar took four wickets in the first innings. But I agree, I would have loved to see him bowl longer today. Maybe that will happen tomorrow," Henderson said. "The good sign is I've seen Imran bowl a few balls in the last session that turned and bounced."
That sign may not be so good for South Africa's chase, which is already looking tough, and which Henderson said could get tougher as soon as India's lead pops over the 200-run mark. "We need wickets early to try to create some pressure. Anything above 200 will be challenging," he said. "But I've seen this team do some special things. With our batting line-up I wouldn't be at ease if I was India because there's a lot of time left in this game. But you don't want to go past 300."