South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada said on Saturday (January 6) that losing Dale Steyn to injury yet again is "never nice" but that the hosts have himself and two other pacers to do the job against India in the ongoing first Test of the three-match series in Cape Town.
Steyn walked off the field after bowling only 17.3 overs before Tea on Day 2. It was revealed later that the 34-year-old pace gun damaged tissue on his heel after landing awkwardly during what turned out to be his last over of the match.
The South African pace spearhead will not bowl during the remainder of the Test and is likely to be out of the series as well as he needs six-eight weeks for recovery, according to team manager Doctor Mohammad Moosajee.
Notably, the ongoing Test in his first competitive outing in whites since the Perth Test against Australia, in which he dislocated his shoulder, last year.
"It's never nice for Dale Steyn because he's just come back from injury, so just feeling very sympathetic for him," Rabada said after the second day's play in Cape Town.
He added: "It's not a nice thing, but we have to find a way to win this Test match. Luckily this time, we went with four seamers. So there are three seamers now that have to do the work."
Can Rabada step up in the absence of Steyn?
South Africa will now look to take confidence from the way they defeated Australia 2-1 Down Under last year despite losing Steyn in the first Test in Perth.
Rabada took the onus of leading the pace attack in the absence of Steyn and picked up 15 wickets in the three-match series to help his team script history against Steve Smith's side.
'We're not going to give in'
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old pacer maintained that South Africa are slightly ahead in the Test and they will look to make it difficult for Virat Kohli's India in the final innings of what has turned out to be a cracking contest.
Despite losing openers Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram to Hardik Pandya, who also blasted a quickfire 93, the hosts will start Day 3 on Sunday with a 142-run lead.
"We are slightly ahead and we are not going to give in. We need more hard work but we will take it at the end of the day. After the sort of momentum India got in the second session, we would take that lead," Rabada said.
He added: "Obviously, we were hoping for a bigger lead but India are not going to roll over and we expected that. That is what they showed out there.
"It is tough to say what fourth innings score we are looking for right now. We are looking at batting time, looking to bat normally and see what happens from there. We want to make it hard for them to score."