Kagiso Rabada admits he has let himself and teammates down after being slapped with a two-Test ban that will force him to miss the rest of the series against Australia unless South Africa successfully appeal.
Rabada bowled the Proteas to a series-levelling victory in Port Elizabeth, earning man-of-the-match honours after snaring figures of 11-150 in the second Test.
Rabada's feats earned him top spot on the International Cricket Council's Test bowling rankings that were released on Tuesday.
But the fired-up quick has been given four demerit points and fined 65 per cent of his match fee from the game at St George's Park.
Rabada earned three points for making physical contact with Steve Smith on day one, while he copped one point for screaming in the face of David Warner during a send-off on day three.
Match referee Jeff Crowe conducted a hearing on the first send-off, ruling he could "not see any evidence to support the argument that the contact was accidental".
The Proteas are seeking legal advice and have 48 hours to lodge a formal appeal. Rabada will remain suspended if he appeals, although South Africa could attempt to convince the judicial commissioner that he should be allowed to play.
Rabada, who accepted his level-one charge for giving Warner a spray, has now been charged by the International Cricket Council five times in 13 months.
The 22-year-old, having started the current series with five points on his record, accepts he must learn how to control his emotions.
"It's going to have to stop. I can't keep doing this because I'm letting the team down and I'm also letting myself down," he told reporters after starring in the six-wicket win.
"It's bittersweet. I would've loved to have been playing the next game.
"I have to see it as a big learning curve and not repeat the same mistake, because I've 'repeated' the same mistake in the eyes of the umpires. I'm not happy about it.
"I don't know what I'm thinking actually. I just let it out.
"I won't change the way I express myself, but I'll just get far away from the batter."
Skipper Faf du Plessis has also seemingly accepted the prospect of losing his most potent weapon, who in 28 Tests already boasts more 10-wicket Test match hauls than any South African apart from Dale Steyn (five) and Makhaya Ntini (four).
"Our strike rate is zero per cent at the moment with trying to challenge these cases, it will probably stay at zero," du Plessis said, referencing Quintion de Kock's hearing last week and his own ball-tampering charge that resulted from 'mint-gate'.
Rabada's absence is a massive setback for the Proteas ahead of next week's clash in Cape Town.
Morne Morkel, who has announced this series will be his international swansong, is likely to be recalled.
Steyn has recovered from a heel injury and started bowling in the nets, but he is short of match fitness.
"From my understanding he would have needed to play a game this week, which he didn't," du Plessis said of Steyn.
"I will be praying extra hard that he will be ready ... (but) I would assume probably the fourth Test."