Friday’s second day of the first Test at Lord’s was one of those typical glass half full or half empty days for the Proteas.
Whatever one’s point of view, there’s no denying that the visitors are in a bit of a sticky situation against England.
After conceding a substantial 458 in the home side’s first innings, South Africa reached 214/5 at the close.
It means they’re still a massive 244 runs behind but, scarily enough, there was a point when it seemed it might get worse.
After stand-in skipper Dean Elgar (54) had fought hard to tea, the Proteas lost two quick wickets just after the break to stumble to 104/4.
Given that the pair of Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn only had 21 Test caps between them, there were fears South Africa could collapse purely due to the pressure.
But, rather pleasingly, the duo showed they have the ability to carry this side in future.
The diminutive Bavuma was typically robust in compiling his unbeaten 48, never rushing but also never looking uncomfortable.
De Bruyn was understandably more nervy given his inexperience but eventually settled and played some meaty strokes.
It was rather disappointing that he prodded at a Jimmy Anderson delivery that moved away ever so slightly.
Nonetheless, his 48 off 85 balls was fluent enough.
They certainly matched the application of their skipper, who led well from the front.
However, JP Duminy’s (15) spot is once again in the spotlight after yet another failure.
How long can the Proteas still afford his low scores?
Earlier, the bowlers fought back well – only to undermine themselves again against England’s tailenders.
Home captain Joe Root was eventually dismissed for a magnificent 190 after Morne Morkel (4/115) produced a superb delivery that got the edge.
Even after Moeen Ali (87) and Stuart Broad’s (57*) scored some valuable runs, the Proteas still had a chance to limit England to under 420 at 413/9.
But they lost their heads and employ strange tactics as Broad galloped to his first half-century for a few years.