Cape Town - The struggle continued for the Proteas in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon, and by tea time on the opening day of the second Test against England they had taken just three wickets.
England were due to start the final session of the day on 167/3, with Joe Root 23*.
The first of the wickets came in the opening session when Alastair Cook (27) was brilliantly caught by debutant Chris Morris in the slips off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada, but after lunch Alex Hales and Nick Compton made life even more difficult for the Proteas bowlers.
The pair, who had come together just before lunch with the score at 55/1, put on 74 for the second wicket.
After lunch both Hales and Compton came out looking to be more positive - targeting Dane Piedt and Kagiso Rabada in particular.
Piedt did well to contain the attacking intent, but Rabada quickly found himself going at more than four to the over.
The Proteas desperately needed their breakthrough, and it came in the 44th over when AB de Villiers at second slip dived to his left to take a good catch after Hales (60) had edged a probing delivery from Morne Morkel.
The dangerous Joe Root then joined the action, and South Africa nearly had him back in the hut for just 13 when Morkel found the outside edge in the 48th over.
Morris, who had taken a stunning catch with his left hand to dismiss Cook in the morning session, could not do it again. This chance was at a more comfortable height for the seamer, but it came at a serious pace and in the end Morris had done well to just get a hand on it.
Root then survived another scare when he was on 23.
Rabada delivered a vicious bouncer that had Root beaten all ends up, and the ball crashed off the 25-year-old's hanging bat and looped skywards.
De Villiers got closest, but even after a committed dive he could not get ball to hand and Root survived again.
Compton, meanwhile, built on the form he showed in the first Test in Durban where he carded scores of 85 and 49.
But he fell just five runs short of his 3rd Test 50 when, in the 56th over, he pulled a short ball from Rabada straight to Temba Bavuma at mid-wicket.