Captain Eoin Morgan conceded England were “way off the mark”, after Tuesday's seven-wicket defeat to South Africa in the first ODI at Newlands in Cape Town.
England are the reigning World Cup champions and currently occupy first position in the International Cricket Council's rankings for ODI teams.
They totalled 258 for eight, which the hosts surpassed with 14 deliveries to spare, at Newlands. The result gave the home side an early lead in the three-match series. Bet365 have South Africa and England offered at 2.37 and 1.57, respectively, to win the second ODI at Kingsmead in Durban.
Honest words from Morgan
“We were hurt. South Africa completely outplayed us in all departments. We've got no excuses. We didn't adapt to the conditions that were set in front of us, because we knew it wasn't going to be an absolute run-fest,” said Morgan.
“But every batsman, apart from suppose Joe Denly and Chris Woakes really struggled to get going, which probably emphasises that we are a little bit rusty. But South Africa bowled well and accurately, they used the conditions really well with slower balls, and then we couldn't penetrate the partnership between Quinton de Kock and Temb Bavuma, so it made things very difficult for us. But full credit to them, they've started the series very well.”
Proteas ODI captain de Kock struck a century and batsman Bavuma managed 98. They shared a 173-run partnership for the second wicket. Denly struck 87 to Woakes' 40, but no other England batsman scored more than 32.
“I think we lacked adaptation to the skill level that was needed. The guys up front came hard like they normally do, as we always try and do, but when that didn't come off we had to try and rein in in a little bit,” added Morgan.
“I think we lost wickets in clusters, and when myself and Joe Root went at the same time, we continue to lose wickets until the Woakes and Denly partnership. But I suppose that total would only get us in the game if we if we bowled well and managed to take early wickets. but having let those guys get themselves in, it was a struggle to drag things back.”