Team manager Mohammed Moosajee only gave his signature about two minutes before the captains would meet in the middle before the sheet was handed to skipper Graeme Smith.
Smith, however, looked visibly annoyed and delayed the process by first walking briskly over to seamer Vernon Philander, apparently asking him if he was feeling well enough to play.
Philander has been struggling with a persistent flu bug over the past week.
After the consultation, Smith marked out a name on the sheet, rumoured to be backup seamer Rory Kleinveldt. As a result, it seems as if the burly Cobras stalwart was going to play before Smith’s intervention.
South Africa made three changes to their side that lost by 281 runs in the first Test in Centurion.
Twenty one year-old prodigy Quinton de Kock was handed an unexpected debut in place of the ill Alviro Petersen while Dean Elgar is Smith’s opening partner and Wayne Parnell replaces the concussed Ryan McLaren.
South Africa won the toss and chose to bat against Australia.