SCORECARD: South Africa v India, Durban
“I think the first prize will be to bat past India and see how big a lead we can get,” Petersen said.
“We need to put them under pressure, but time is a problem because you don't really get a full day's play in Durban."
South Africa had reached 299/5, 35 runs behind India's first innings total, with just two days left in the match.
“With the wicket turning, ideally, we don't want be the team batting last on it.
"It would be nice to bat as long as possible tomorrow.”
India's top wicket-taker in the match, Ravindra Jadeja said his team would look to get South Africa out early on day four.
“They are batting well, we need to get them out as soon as possible,” said the spinner who returned figures of 4-87 off his 37 overs.
“We need to chase the game in the second innings so we can put a good total on the board.”
Rain stopped play after tea as the heavy clouds gathered and the light began to deteriorate.
Jacques Kallis was not out on 78 and nightwatchman Dale Steyn yet to score.
Earlier, India had hit back claiming three wickets in the morning session after South Africa resumed on 82 for no loss.
Graeme Smith was the first to fall, attempting to loft Jadeja to midwicket but Shikhar Dhawan had other ideas, running at full speed to dismiss the Proteas skipper for 47.
Hashim Amla continued his poor run of form in the series when Mohammed Shami got the ball to come back in to the right hander, bowling him for three off the last ball of the over.
Amla's dismissal brought Kallis to the crease in his final Test match. He received a standing ovation from the crowd and the Indian players took off their caps and formed a guard of honour for him.
No sooner had he arrived at the crease, Petersen was gone for a well-played 62, edging Jadeja to Murali Vijay at slip.
Kallis shared a 127-run fourth-wicket partnership with AB de Villiers, before Jadeja induced an edge from De Villiers (74) to Virat Kohli at slip.
Jadeja grabbed his fourth scalp of the innings nine minutes before the players went off, trapping JP Duminy lbw for 28.