Centurion Jacques Kallis said South Africa would have to overcome their "average" first-innings total if they are to fight back against India.
The visitors were dismissed for 305 on day two of the second Test in Calcutta.
"We would have liked something closer to 400. What we got is a pretty average total. We'll have to make up for it when we bat (again)," Kallis said.
The hosts were propelled by an unbeaten 82 from Virender Sehwag as they reached 129-1 in reply at the close of play.
South Africa resumed play on 227-5, but gave up any hope of a big first-innings total when Kallis (121) was one of three batsmen to fall in the morning.
The all-rounder had his middle stump uprooted by India skipper Sourav Ganguly.
"That ball was an absolute beauty," said Kallis, who
rated this century among the best knocks of his career.
"Only my debut Test hundred would probably be above this knock."
Sehwag and Dravid can put the second Test out of SA's reach
South Africa have attracted criticism for their defensive tactics in India, and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh took a swipe at the tourists after they took 121.1 overs to tally 305 runs.
"I don't understand the logic behind this, but the way
South Africa batted showed they were playing for a draw," said Harbhajan, who was unbowled for nearly three hours before finishing off the tail with two quick wickets.
"They are happy to go at two runs an over, they keep
blocking the balls.
"In the first Test they got runs on the board but took too long, so there was no chance of a result.
"Here we have got them out for a low score. Now we can put pressure on them."
But coach Ray Jennings said his batsmen were only cautious because of their inexperience in subcontinental conditions.
"People have misunderstood us from our approach, we're not trying to be deliberately slow," Jennings said.
Both Harbhajan and Jennings identified Sehwag as a key figure.
"Sehwag showed that India can still force the pace and
produce a result," Harbhajan said.
"It's difficult to contain a batsman like Sehwag, who can
overshadow a bowler in just four overs," Jennings added.
Sehwag will look to build on his unbroken second-wicket stand of 112 with Rahul Dravid, who was 33 not out.