Virat Kohli says India must address their batting frailties and "come back as better cricketers" after they were consigned to a 2-1 Test series defeat by South Africa at Newlands.

The Proteas completed their fightback in Cape Town early in the afternoon session on day four, chasing down a target of 212 to wrap up a seven-wicket victory.

Keegan Petersen was named man of the match and player of the series after making a classy 82 before he chopped on to a delivery from Shardul Thakur on the penultimate day, having been dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara on 59.

That was the only wicket to fall on Friday, with Rassie van der Dussen (41 not out) and Temba Bavuma (32no) seeing Dean Elgar's side home.

India had taken a 1-0 lead at SuperSport Park, but they were unable to celebrate a first Test series triumph in South Africa.

Captain Kohli doffed his cap to the Proteas and warned India will be in for more disappointment unless they improve with the bat.

"It's a great spectacle of Tests for everyone to watch; hard-fought series. Great first game, but South Africa did amazingly well. In both Tests they won, they were clinical with the ball in crunch moments," said Kohli.

"Lapses of concentration cost us key moments and they seized those moments; absolutely deserving winners in the end.

"One of the challenges we've faced touring abroad is make sure capitalising on momentum, when we've done that we've won Tests away from home. When we haven't, they've cost us quite bad.

"We've had a few collapses that have cost us in important moments and Test matches. It's batting; can't pinpoint any other aspect. People talk about pace and bounce, considering their heights, they were able to get much more off the wickets in all three Tests.

"They applied pressure long enough for us to make mistakes. It's the understanding of conditions for them which they know very well. The batting has to be looked into, no running away from that.

"Having collapses every now and then is not a good thing. Obviously very disappointed, we know how far we've come as a team. That people expect us to beat South Africa in South Africa is testimony to how far we've come.

"We haven't done it, that's the reality, accept it and come back as better cricketers. We've got to credit the opposition where due."