India bowled out South Africa for 215 to claim a series-levelling win by a margin of 87 runs on day four in Durban.
Set 303 to win the second Test, the Proteas resumed under blue skies on the fourth morning on 111-3 requiring a further 192.
But India struck four times in the morning session, including two wickets for Zaheer Khan, to reduce the home side to 182-7 at lunch.
And, despite a defiant 39 not out from Ashwell Prince, Zaheer (3-57) and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (3-45) finished with three wickets apiece as victory was sealed in mid-afternoon.
The series is now level at 1-1 ahead of the final match in Cape Town, starting on January 2.
Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers resumed on the fourth morning and negotiated the first half-hour without undue alarm.
However, that changed in the eighth over of the day when a Sreesanth delivery wickedly kicked off the pitch and took the fending gloves of Kallis (17) on its way to Virender Sehwag at gully.
And the hosts were further jolted by the loss of de Villiers (33) five overs later, unluckily given out lbw by umpire Asad Rauf to a ball from Harbhajan Singh (2-70) that replays suggested was going over the stumps.
There was further surprise when Rauf's colleague Steve Davis raised his finger at the other end to send Mark Boucher (1) on his way lbw - Zaheer the bowler this time with the delivery seemingly headed well over off stump.
The Umpire Decision Review System is not in use during the series as the Board of Control for Cricket in India refused to give their consent.
Dale Steyn did not hang around long, Zaheer again the wicket-taker with the batsman this time chasing a wide one and edging straight to Cheteshwar Pujara at third slip for 10.
Paul Harris joined Prince through to lunch but his stern resistance - his seven spanned almost an hour of crease occupation - was ended in the second over of the afternoon when Zaheer clipped his off bail.
The end was nigh - Ishant Sharma (1-36) removed Morne Morkel (20) caught behind and last man Lonwabo Tsotsobe (0) was run out by a sharp piece of work from Pujara at short-leg.
Prince was left stranded as India - the ICC's top-ranked Test team - recorded only their second win on South African soil in 14 attempts.