Colombo - Proteas bowling coach, Allan Donald, says the first hour on Friday will be an "investment session", as the bowlers look to take the remaining five Sri Lankan wickets at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo.
As it happened: SL v SA - Day 1
Donald says the bowlers will have to make good use of the new ball, and exercise patience in favourable batting conditions.
"We have to earn the right in that hour to be in a good position with the ball.
"We know we can still pull this back.
"We have been in these situations before where we have gotten off the field with the opposition 300 up with four or five wickets down.
"We have a new ball tomorrow, that first hour will be an investment session.
"We have to be disciplined; we pride ourselves in our discipline, patience and skills.
"Our attitude in that first hour is going to be crucial."
Donald recalled the match he played in 1993, where the bowlers toiled at length to pick up 20 wickets for South Africa's only win at the ground. Brett Schultz was the man of the match, picking up a match tally of 9/106.
"I played here in 1993 and was walking around at fine leg; there was no wind, it was 38 degrees with 80% humidity.
"I know what these guys have gone through today.
"I'm proud of the way we stuck at it, we had a great start and then we let it slip in 10 overs.
"They scored 70 odd runs in 10 overs and got sloppy.
"I thought throughout the day we managed to pull back.
"We always talk about our breaking points and having to fight through those points, I'm proud of the fact that we hung in all day."
The Proteas will remain optimistic of pulling the advantage back in their favour, particularly because of the form shown by the seamers.
"The Vernon factor is always going to be there," Donald said of Philander, who put in an impressive performance despite being wicket-less.
"He was searching in those few overs and then hit that Vernon Philander length.
"He created chances, went passed the outside edge a lot, he is not far away.
"It would be sad to see him wicket-less but he is a lot happier with his form in this match."