No Dale Steyn or Vernon Philander, a battered and bruised batting lineup and a team completely bereft of confidence – South Africa are not in the greatest of places at the moment. However, the number one ranked team in the world need to find inspiration and form from somewhere as they face-off against an upbeat England side in the 2nd Test in Cape Town from Saturday.
Following a rather poor batting performance, in both innings, South Africa went down tamely to England by 241 runs in the first Test match, with the home team also losing the services of Steyn for the second Test.
The fast bowler has been ruled out with a shoulder injury, meaning South Africa will have to go into this Test match without their marquee bowler, who, when he did send down those cherries, looked in top form. Kyle Abbott could also miss out on the New Year's Test match action with a hamstring problem, even if South Africa do have the resources to make up for the losses.
Kagiso Rabada will come in for Steyn, while Chris Morris is waiting in the wings to take the place of Abbott, if the right-armer is deemed unfit. Another key change for South Africa will be bringing in Quinton De Kock as the wicketkeeper, allowing AB De Villiers to just concentrate on his batting.
Batting will be the key for South Africa in this Test match, and the man who will have to lead from the front in that regard is the captain himself. Hashim Amla is going through a rough patch at the moment, and the right-hander needs to find his batting mojo from somewhere, or this Test match could go south pretty quickly as well.
England will be buzzing from that brilliant all-round performance in Durban, and the only thing they need to worry about is complacency. If the visitors maintain the same tempo and quality throughout this second Test, they have a pretty good chance of ensuring the cannot lose this series.
"In 2015 we were up and down, but it was great to finish with a performance like that, a real relentless performance from pretty much ball one," England captain James Anderson said. "Can we do it again? Can we have an Edgbaston-Trent Bridge fortnight and can we do that in Durban and Cape Town?
"There are a number of English people here so it is going to be a great Test match to be part of. We have got to be careful we do not get carried away. It took a lot out of us to win at Durban, we had to come through some tricky situations. There were times when we didn't quite get it right bowling, but we managed to drag it back through absolute determination and skill.
"It is about whether we have got that same hunger in us to do it again."
England are likely to welcome James Anderson back from injury, provided he passes a late fitness test. The fast bowler has been sending them down in the nets, and unless there is a late setback, Anderson will line up alongside Stuart Broad and Steven Finn for this second Test match at Newlands.
"The XI that played in Durban did a pretty good job, but when you have someone like him and his wickets, if he is fit to go, he will play," Cook said of Anderson. "It will be an interesting call because the amount of overs he has bowled on this tour is not a huge amount. With the heat here and the conditions, it will be a tough Test match.
"We will have a good chat when we get back to the changing room and see how he feels. You have to be really careful with heart and head, he is desperate to play, but we have got to make sure it is the right decision for England."
Where to Watch Live
South Africa vs England 2nd Test, Day 1 is scheduled for a 10.30 am local time (2 pm IST, 8.30 am GMT) start. Live coverage of the Test match in India and the UAE will be on Ten Cricket and Ten HD, while all the match action can also be watched via live streaming online on Ten Sports live.
Viewers in South Africa, and Sub Saharan Africa, can watch the opening day of the second Test in Cape Town live on SuperSport 2, while South Africa vs England can also be live streamed on SuperSport Live Video.
Viewers in the US can watch all the cricket action live on Willow TV, while Willow TV Online will provide the live streaming option.