Kevin Pietersen's England career remains in grave doubt after he was left out of the must-win Lord's Test, despite his "change of heart" to commit again to all international formats.
Pietersen, whose place is taken by Jonny Bairstow, has endured a controversial week - even by his standards - and it seems a final sticking point persisted over the text messages he reportedly sent to South Africa players during the drawn Headingley Test.
It was there that the 32-year-old played one of his best innings - a man-of-the-match 149 - and became the quickest batsman in Test history to top 7,000 runs.
But he left Leeds under a cloud, after a post-match press conference in which he hinted at dressing-room unrest and refused to give assurances that the Lord's Test would not be his last.
It seems now, however, he might already have hit his final ball for his adopted country during his 88th appearance last week.
It subsequently emerged he was perturbed by a parody Twitter account and the possibility that his team-mates - among the followers of a feed since closed down - might somehow be associated with the mocking tone, sending up his personality and behaviour.
A further revelation, that he sent texts to opposition players in the thick of a high-profile series against his native country, appears to be the one that truly undermined Pietersen's attempts at reconciliation with England and Wales Cricket Board management.
He made it clear, in an interview broadcast to millions on YouTube last night, that he had seen the error of his ways and had decided playing cricket for England was more important than other issues.
But after a summer dominated by the saga of Pietersen's contract wrangles with the ECB since his shock retirement from limited-overs international cricket at the end of May, it seems he has done too little too late to convince his employers they can still trust him as they must in the team environment.
Today's announcement of a 13-man squad, for a match England must win to share the Investec series 1-1 and therefore rescue their world number one status, was delayed by five extra hours to allow him time to confirm publicly he had not sent texts containing derogatory remarks about his own team-mates and/or ECB management.
Hugh Moris, managing director England Cricket, said: "During the past week we have held several discussions with Kevin Pietersen and his advisers.
"Following a constructive meeting, it was agreed that a number of actions needed to be completed to re-engage Kevin within the England dressing room.
"A fundamental item was to confirm publicly that no derogatory texts had been sent by Kevin to the South African team.
"This has not been forthcoming, despite clear timelines being set to allow the selectors to pick the squad for the third Investec Test Match.
"We provided an additional six hours this morning to provide every opportunity for agreement to be reached, but regrettably this has not been possible."
On Saturday Pietersen declared he could scarcely wait to rejoin his team-mates this week as they prepare for captain Andrew Strauss' 100th Test, with stakes so high at the home of cricket.
But it appears he has been unable to demonstrate that he and his situation are not after all a threat to the team unity so treasured by Strauss and coach Andy Flower.
Morris added: "The success of the England team has been built on a unity of purpose and trust.
"While we have made every attempt to find a solution to enable Kevin to be selected, we have sadly had to conclude that - in the best interest of the team - he will miss the Lord's Test."
Pietersen's absence means a return for 22-year-old Yorkshireman Bairstow, dropped after his third Test against West Indies this summer amid concerns he was having trouble handling the short ball at the highest level.
Bairstow was back with a century for England Lions against Australia A this week, though, and was therefore at the front of the queue as Pietersen's Lord's replacement.
National selector Geoff Miller said: "We need a squad fully focused on this Test match to be able to play the sort of cricket we know is necessary if we are to win this week and level the series.
"The second Investec Test was a marked improvement on our performance at the start of the series, but we are aware we will need to play some very good cricket this week if we are to level this series.
"While there were 'positives' to take from a number of areas at Headingley, we know we will need to show further improvement if we are to win at Lord's.
"There is plenty of international experience among this squad, and they will all be determined to play to their full potential this week."
Also in a squad showing just one change from Headingley are James Taylor, who shared a century stand with Pietersen on debut last week, seamer Graham Onions and off-spinner Graeme Swann - both left out of the final XI in Leeds.
England squad - Third Investec Test: Andrew Strauss (Middlesex) (Captain), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Alastair Cook (Essex), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Graham Onions (Durham), Matt Prior (Sussex), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire)