The England captain is contending with an upset stomach just four days out from the Port Elizabeth contest.
Coached by Duncan Fletcher and already fast heading toward a famous reclaiming of the Ashes on home soil after a long drought in 2005, that England side got their noses in front in game one in the Friendly City of an enthralling five-Test series they eventually squeezed out 2-1 in their favour.
It was a blow for England when Rory Burns, who made 84 in the second innings of the first Test, was injured ahead of the second match but Dom Sibley stepped up with an important century while Joe Denly has been solid at number three without going on to a big score.
When is South Africa vs England taking place?
When South Africa completed a series win against Australia two years ago they had won 15 and lost five of 23 Tests under his leadership.
Bowling conundrums: Notwithstanding Rabada's feats in 2017/18, spin bowlers generally expect some help from the St George's Park pitch.
First-choice spinner Jack Leach features however to show up on trip after dropping sick immediately after arrival.
The passing of more than six further decades without a South African triumph over England in PE should serve as an extra incentive for Faf du Plessis and company to change all that and reclaim the lead in the present series. He can be back assertion for a spot into the beginning line-up.
Both players will miss the rest of the series in South Africa and Burns will also miss the tour of Sri Lanka in March after an ankle surgery.
With the ground capacity reduced because of building work, local followers found most of the tickets had been snapped up by tour operators, with Cape Town being a particularly attractive destination for England's travelling supporters.
Nevertheless some 5,500 seats were sold ahead of time when it comes to first-day and it's also most likely nearly all of those had been purchased with respect to England followers, with residents typically preferring to make through to the afternoon.