Cape Town - Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis defended Dale Steyn and his entire pace attack's performance following the side's 2-0 series defeat against Sri Lanka.
The Proteas seam attack only took 12 of the 25 Sri Lankan wickets in the Test series with Kagiso Rabada grabbing eight in spin-friendly conditions.
READ: Rabada no longer No 1, Steyn drops to lowest ranking
37 of the 40 South African wickets fell to the Sri Lankan spinners led by veteran Rangana Herath.
Steyn, who played in his first Test series since January, only picked up two wickets in the two Test matches.
Steyn tied Shaun Pollock as the Proteas' leading Test wicket-taker on 421 dismissals in the first Test last week in Galle, which was won by Sri Lanka within three days.
The 35-year-old speedster from Phalaborwa needed one more wicket to surpass Pollock in the final match in the series.
However, in Colombo, Steyn went wicketless, returning figures of 0 for 60 and 0 for 30.
"It was frustrating for Dale because he gives everything. You saw when he was running in, there was nothing happening for him, there was no reverse swing and no pace on the wicket. He kept trying," said Du Plessis.
The Proteas skipper was optimistic that Steyn will come back with a bang in the Proteas next Test match, which will only take place against Pakistan in December.
"I think the next time he has the red ball in hand there will be a little more assistance when we play against Pakistan. I know he is motivated and I expect him to come back and put in the good performances," said Du Plessis.
"I think it will be unfair to judge our seam bowlers on these conditions, it was really tough for them, they tried hard but it was really tough to get something from the wicket. The wicket was quite dusty... our pace factor that we had as our threat was not a weapon in these conditions."