Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, cricket is being played in a bio-secure bubble with everybody associated with the series and tournament undergoing several checks for the virus.
Players and support staff are only shuffling between their team hotels and the cricket stadiums for outdoor practice sessions. Nobody is allowed to break the bubble and travel around due to the Coronavirus threat.
While the players are finding it mentally challenging, South Africa head coach Mark Boucher on Wednesday (December 30) explained why the virus makes life harder for the bowlers than batsmen.
"It's easier for batters to work on their fitness - you can do shuttles. But it's difficult to bowl 20 overs in your back garden. You have to try simulate a game situation. You might have to bowl 10 overs in the morning and then come back in the afternoon and bowl another 10 overs. And while you are busy waiting you walk around the field, and that is trying to simulate what you would do in a game,” Cricbuzz quoted Boucher as saying.
"You can't put guys in cotton wool and just have them bowl six overs and think they are ready for a Test match. You can't just say to a guy rock up and bowl 20 overs now. You've got to build him up so if you do want to push him, his body can handle it," he added.
During the Boxing Day Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Centurion, five visiting players broke down due to injuries, with three of them being serious enough to rule out of the second Test.
On the other hand, the Proteas came through the game without any significant damage.
Asked about their preparation in the build-up to the series, Boucher said: "We're having to think out the box continuously to try and get our workloads up in order for these guys to come out and bowl 20 overs in a day. All we've done, really, is recognise that we're going to need a big squad in order to get through this season.”
"Sometimes you just want to play a guy for the sake of playing him. Maybe he's your top bowler. There needs to be a big consideration for the workload that he's had. The mental side, the physical side; all that suff comes into play. You've got to take the emotion out of it and make a smart cricketing decision," he further remarked.
The second Test will be played at the Wanderers from January 3.