Cape Town — The Proteas head into the fourth and final Test against England at the Wanderers on Friday without premier speedster Kagiso Rabada , which represents a massive blow to their chances of squaring the series.
The 24-year-old is suspended for the Test having picked up a demerit point - his fourth over a two-year period - for his celebrations following his dismissal of England captain Joe Root on Day 1 of the third Test in Port Elizabeth.
With South Africa 2-1 down in the series following an innings and 53-run defeat at St George's Park, they now have it all to do in Johannesburg.
Both Proteas coach Mark Boucher and captain Faf du Plessis have acknowledged that losing a player of Rabada's quality is hugely significant, but uncertainty still remains over the ICC's interpretation of what is deemed an 'over-the-top' celebration.
For Rabada himself, that doesn't matter and he acknowledged after the PE Test that he had let the team and himself down.
"It's something that I didn't expect. Whether it was the right thing to ban me, or the wrong thing, the reality is that I am banned," he said.
"Obviously it hurts, but it gives me a chance to work on my game and to have a bit of a rest.
"It can't keep happening, because I'm letting the team down and I'm letting myself down.
"It just can't keep happening and that's why it hurts so much."
Rabada was trying his best to stay positive, and if it is Lions seamer Beuran Hendricks who comes into the starting line-up as expected, he will have Rabada's full backing.
"I have belief in anyone who is going to come into my spot that they have the ability to knock anyone over. That is why they are picked for South Africa," Rabada said.
"We can go there and level the series if a few things go our way ... it's highly, highly possible."
Rabada also acknowledged that this had been a tough period for himself and his team-mates.
"It's difficult to find solutions when you are not doing so well in your career, and us as steam have not been doing so well," he said.
"You can get into a situation where you overthink trying to find solutions, so it's quite tough to say what to do.
"I think the most important thing would be to stay positive and play positively.
"It's difficult when you're not playing well and everyone will have an opinion on you. We've played cricket long enough to know how to get out of a slump, but it can be difficult."
On a personal level, Rabada said he wanted to take the next step in his career.
"I'd like to be more consistent in my action and that is going to bring a more consistent output in terms of my delivery and more quality as well," he said.
"I think now is the time where I need to put behind my rawness. It's time to really clock my game and know my game really well. I think I'm going through that phase at the moment."
Rabada has taken 197 wickets at an average of 22.95 in his 43 Tests to date for South Africa.
- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard