So it’s 1-1 in the series, with South Africa gaining revenge for last week by beating the Lions 27-9 in Cape Town to set up a decider next Saturday.
Here’s how the world champions turned the tide in emphatic fashion.
What a difference a week makes
In the end, it proved to be a carbon copy of the first Test, but in reverse.
This time, in contrast to a week ago, it was the Springboks who took absolute control in the second half.
They got on top in the aerial contest, ruling the skies via a dominating bombardment, with both of their tries coming from astute kicks from their half-backs.
They also took charge of the set-pieces, out-scrummaging the Lions to win a series of penalties and resolving first-half lineout issues to turn an area of weakness into one of strength, with their mighty mauling game coming to the fore.
The collisions increasingly went their way too as they imposed themselves physically both in contact and at the breakdown, applying incessant pressure, with the penalty count mounting in their favour.
Their “bomb squad” bench made a big impact as well, in a further turnaround from last week. So, all in all, it was pretty emphatic.
The Springboks may have been a bit underdone coming into this series, but they are cooking now and it’s ominous for the Lions with the deciding Test coming up next Saturday.
It’s a fair bet Rassie Erasmus will be a much happier man this week.
The longest half
Given the incendiary build-up to the game and with so much resting on it, emotions were bound to be running high and it was almost inevitable you were going to get a few flare-ups. So it proved.
Also, after what happened in the first Test where the Lions suffered from indiscipline in the opening half and the Boks in the second, that area was likely to be critical.
Again that proved to the case in an opening half that seemed to go on for ever amid numerous TMO checks, a couple of yellow cards and words of warning to the skippers over assorted shenanigans and indiscretions.
It took just two minutes for tempers to flare up and for things to boil over, with Alun Wyn Jones and Eben Etzebeth at the centre of a mass altercation, as they engaged in a spot of extended eyeballing.
There were to be more handbags on 25 minutes, amid a collective sequence of push and shove and assorted grappling.
As for the indiscipline, the two sides took it in turn to offend as the first half progressed.
Duhan van der Merwe had been somewhat fortunate to escape sanction early on when he followed through in a tackle on Pieter-Steph du Toit after the ball had gone, dumping the flanker heavily on his back, ultimately leading to his injury-enforced departure.
South Africa’s Cheslin Kolbe receives a yellow card
But there was no escape for the Scotland wing on 23 minutes when he was yellow carded for a pretty blatant trip on his opposite number Cheslin Kolbe.
Yet South Africa were only to have a one-man advantage for two minutes.
It was a case of victim becoming culprit as Kolbe took Conor Murray out in the air, following Van der Merwe to the sin bin.
One wondered what the colour of the card would be, but while acknowledging Kolbe had taken Murray out dangerously, referee Ben O’Keeffe decided a yellow would suffice.
The offending continued to go back and fore, with another ‘Bok then having a couple of very mixed moments.
First Makazole Mapimpi enabled his team to draw level with a great spot of jackaling on Stuart Hogg, only to get it wrong a couple of minutes later when he went off his feet over Tadhg Furlong.
The Lions kicked to the corner, with skipper Alun Wyn again taking a bold option, and ultimately that did lead to the penalty that saw the tourists take a 9-6 interval lead following a no arms hit by Bongi Mbonambi.
That successful shot at goal from Dan Biggar was the culmination of a frenetic sequence with the officials having to decide whether Robbie Henshaw had got the ball down for a try – no the verdict – and whether Faf de Klerk was guilty of an illegal hit on Murray – again no.
It all contributed to a hugely protracted, stop-start first-half, with so many things to check and so many things to sort out that it actually took 64 minutes to complete the opening 40.
But at least the Lions came out the better of it. That was not to be the case after the break.
The kicking game
In the opening Test, the Lions crucially won the aerial contest in the second-half, winning the match as a result.
That would have been a real blow to the ‘Boks, who have based so much of their recent success on putting boot to ball to great effect.
So how would they respond?
Well in the opening quarter, they didn’t kick as much as usual.
Instead they looked to keep the ball in hand and challenge the Lions defence physically.
In contrast, there was plenty of kicking from the Lions, from Conor Murray and, in particular, Dan Biggar, who showed real variety, putting in a series of up-and-unders, dinks over the top and cross-kicks, getting decent returns in terms of territory and retaining possession, with some good accompanying chasing.
You also had Murray crucially getting high up to draw the yellow card offence from Cheslin Kolbe, who got underneath him and took him out.
But, as the game went on, the Boks started to get their kicking game going and began to take charge in the aerial battle.
The try that put them in front came from the most astute of kicks, with Handre Pollard first considering the long pass before putting in a perfectly placed angled chip which Makazole Mapimpi ran on to, stepping inside Hogg to touch down.
From there on, it was the hosts just getting their hands to the ball first in the air time and again as they controlled the skies, with the Lions back three found wanting.
Then, just past the hour mark, it was another measured kick that set up their second try, with Faf de Klerk putting in the grubber for Lukhanyo Am to run on to, with referee O’Keeffe happy it was a legal touch down from the centre.
As elsewhere, the ‘Boks ultimately got on top here too.
In the first half, the Lions had the better of the lineout, stealing the ball twice on the opposition throw, with Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes an imposing double act.
But at the scrum, it was the hosts who had the edge.
They were awarded a free kick at the first set-piece following an early engagement and they got a strong push on at the next.
Then on 22 minutes, Mako Vunipola was penalised for going to ground under pressure, while the second half saw the Lions repeatedly pinged, as they found themselves comprehensively outscrummed.
British & Irish Lions’ Ken Owens, Kyle Sinckler, Ali Price, Rory Sutherland and Owen Farrell dejected under the posts after a South Africa try
(Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland)
Then, as the momentum increasingly swung in the direction of the ‘Boks, so the lineout fell away for the tourists as they struggled to secure their own ball.
In turn, the world champions found their range with the arrival of Malcolm Marx and took total control as they got their much-vaunted driving mauling game going. There was to be no stemming the tide.
So it’s 1-1 but very much advantage South Africa.
For the latest rugby updates sent straight to your inbox, you can sign up to our ROAR or Welsh rugby newsletters.