It was never going to be easy for Alistair Cook leading England for the first time in the absents of injured captain Paul Collingwood but the cause wasn't helped by the 170 run blitz from Graeme Smith and Loots Bosman.
"It's always tough when you go round the park, but it was great hitting."
Cook was honest in his appraisal of the game putting the blame solely at the feet of his bowlers for failing to stem the flow of runs by Smith and Bosman.
"You have to give credit to the way South Africa played. You can set a field but if you don't put the ball in the right place the margin on that wicket was very small."
Cook was also forced to defend his decision to open with Joe Denly when England needed to chase down a mammoth 242 instead of promoting big hitting players like Trott, Pietersen and Morgan up the order.
"I'm not sure if anyone has chased that score, we had the belief but we didn't have the skills today," he said.
Proteas captain Smith was pleased with the way South Africa bounced back after Friday nights defeat at the Wanderers and felt the win was more down to their batting instead of England's poor bowling.
"I think I'd like to say we were that good. We were positive, Loots and I got a rhythm and a beautiful wicket and we just wanted to keep England on the back foot" said Smith.
"The ball does sail up here in the high veldt, we wanted to bat first and post a good total but I don't think we could have expected 241. But I was very happy with the way we went today."