"It's never nice for Dale because he's just come back from injury", said Steyn's fellow South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada.
The ultimate battle to establish dominion kicked off earlier today as the numero uno Test team India took on second-placed South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town.
Less than three overs after de Villiers' dismissal, du Plessis, who had narrowly survived an lbw review by India, was gone edging Pandya behind.
Resuming from their lunch score of 107/3, South Africa's hopes of raising a big total were dashed when Bumrah's incoming delivery crashed into AB de Villiers' stumps following an inside edge, ending a 114-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
"He (De Villiers) made the bowlers have to worry about their lengths and that partnership of 100 runs got us back in the game and belief back in the changeroom", he added.
Just as the Proteas had recovered from losing three wickets in nearly no time at all, De Villiers was clean bowled by debutant Jasprit Bumrah for 65, which came off 84 balls and included 11 boundaries.
Philander ended up making 23 before he was cleaned up by Mohammed Shami.
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Bhuvneshwar, who finished with 4/87, too agreed that De Villiers took the game away from India.
With the pitch offering assistance to bowlers, Bhuvneshwar made the most of the conditions as he sent back opener Dean Elgar for a duck on the third ball of the match.
"When AB bats you know you have to bowl well".
Benkenstein, though, said South Africa were "very happy" after their four-man pace attack was unleashed for the last 51 minutes of play.
Steyn returned to test cricket for the match after 14 months on the sidelines with a career-threatening shoulder injury.South Africa's Aiden Markram (34) was the first wicket to fall in their second innings, having looked fluent at the crease until he top-edged a rising delivery from Hardik Pandya (2-17) to Bhuvneshwar Kumar at a deep point.
Vernon Philander had Murali Vijay caught at gully and four balls later Dale Steyn, playing his first Test match in more than a year, caught Shikhar Dhawan off his own bowling when Dhawan's attempted pull steepled high into the air.
He also had Quinton de Kock caught behind for the sixth wicket and went to tea with figures of 4-68.