(Adds details to tea)
DURBAN, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Spinner Robin Peterson emerged the unlikely hero for South Africa in the second test against India as the hosts reached 19 runs without loss at tea on Monday, needing 39 more runs for victory.
Peterson overshadowed his fast bowling colleagues with a four-wicket haul in India's second innings as South Africa bowled out their visitors for 223 just after lunch, leaving a modest target to win the two-match series 1-0.
He completed figures of four for 74 runs on a good batting track came and India lost eight wickets in under two sessions after still being in with a chance of salvaging the test at 68 for two overnight.
Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander each claimed three wickets, only Ajinkya Rahane providing any notable resistance before being bowled out four runs short of a maiden test century.
It was Peterson's brisk 61 runs late on the fourth day that proved the turning point. Batting at number nine, he took South Africa to a 166-run lead and effectively turned the match in his side's favour.
Steyn claimed two early victims in the first half hour on Monday including the fortuitous wicket of Virat Kohli (11) with the first ball of the day.
Television replays showed it to be a poor decision from the umpire as the ball struck the batsman's shoulder rather than bat before being taken behind by AB de Villiers.
As with all tests involving India, there is no Decision Review System (DRS) in this two-match series between the top two ranked test playing nations.
Steyn's second wicket reflected his pace and aggression as he clean bowled Cheteshwar Pujara for 32.
Philander then had Robin Sharma trapped leg below for 25, ending a protracted verbal tussle between the Indian batsman and Steyn which needed intervention from the umpires.
Peterson took two wickets in a single over before lunch - first having India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (15) caught at midwicket and dismissing Ravindra Jadeja when the batsman miscued a ball high into the air and was caught by Morne Morkel.
Peterson broke the stout resistance of Zaheer Khan after lunch, trapping him lbw after which the quicks claimed the last two Indian wickets.
South Africa's openers Alviro Petersen (14) and Graeme Smith (4) took their side to 19 for no wicket at tea, within sight of a victory in 38-year-old all-rounder Jacques Kallis's final test. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond; firstname.lastname@example.org +27828257807 Messaging email@example.com; l)