Rabada's absence could require extra seamer - du Plessis
Never mind the pace and the wickets, it's the overs South Africa will miss most from Kagiso Rabada, who has to sit out of the second Investec Test because of a suspension. Rabada sent down 48 overs in the first Test at Lord's, slightly more than Morne Morkel (46.3) and many more than Vernon Philander, who was injured for much of the second innings (25). South Africa are pondering picking two quicks to make up for Rabada's absence.
"KG has been our spearhead for the last year and a half and he has been bowling very well but it's also the amount of overs that he bowls," Faf du Plessis, South Africa's returning captain, said. "In a three-seam attack, he has been the guy that has been bowling the most overs, so you lose your skill and you also lose the overs that he has bowled."
While du Plessis confirmed Duanne Olivier would definitely come into the XI for Rabada, he also suggested South Africa could include for a fourth quick. Chris Morris could be that bowler and will share the load with Olivier, Morkel and Philander, who has been struggling with injuries on the tour. Philander went into the first Test on the back of an ankle problem that he picked up during a county stint at Sussex, and was then hit on the hand while batting, which kept him off the field for the third afternoon.
X-rays revealed no fracture to his hand and he has been passed fit for the second Test but his bowling workloads may still be managed which means that South Africa could be willing to weaken their already weaker suit - batting - to accommodate more bowling options.
If anything, that illustrates the value Rabada has brought to the team since making his debut in November 2015. He has played in 18 of South Africa's 20 Tests and has bowled more overs than any other South African in that time. Rabada's 531.2 overs puts him sixth on the overall list and speaks to the workload he has had to carry.
Though he has not been at his best in this series and has struggled for rhythm, Rabada remains a big threat and South Africa would have wanted to be able to call on him as they look to square the series. Instead, they will have to rely on a different attack but, if du Plessis has it his way, a changed mindset.
"We understand where we made mistakes in the first game, it is probably how we respond to that. This is a big test of character for us. It's just about knowing we can do it and going into this next game and doing it."
South Africa have a hard-earned reputation for fighting back, especially when they are without players. In Australia last year, they lost Dale Steyn to an injury in Perth and then rallied to win the match and the series. This time, they have had more disruption with du Plessis missing the first Test on paternity leave and coach Russell Domingo not in Nottingham after the death of his mother.
Du Plessis said he saw some signs that it was all getting to the group when he sat on the sidelines at Lord's. "There were times when it was too easy for England," he said. "When they threw a punch back at us, we just sit back and let it happen and expected something to happen and it never did."
With or without Rabada, they intend to counterpunch.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent