Vice-captain Rahul Dravid was disappointed to miss out on another Test century as India reached 359-6 against South Africa in Calcutta.
Dravid has only made one Test hundred against SA in 1997
"I wanted to go on to make a big score and put the team into a really strong position," said Dravid, who made 80.
"The game is pretty even. Irfan [Pathan] and [Dinesh] Karthik batted well towards the end of the day.
"But we would have liked to be about 100 ahead with a couple more wickets in hand," he added.
"If we manage to put on another 80 or 90 runs tomorrow morning, then we'll have the upper hand."
"Even though they don't have quality spinners, we should not forget that we will be batting last on this pitch, which we expect will help spinners as the match progresses."
South Africa coach Ray Jennings, however, believed his side were still in the hunt after restricting India to an overnight lead of 54 with four wickets remaining.
"We've taken the momentum away from India. If we can claim early wickets and set India a 250-run target in the last innings, we can turn the game our way," he said.
"I've heard a lot of criticism from the Indians about South Africa playing defensive cricket, but I did not see any intent to attack from India today."