Cape Town - Proteas skipper AB de Villiers admits that his side were simply outplayed by the better team in the first one-day international (ODI) on Wednesday.
The Proteas trail the three-ODI series one-nil, after slumping to a 72-run defeat against England at Headingley.
De Villiers elected to field first with his bowling attack unable to contain the 117-run sixth wicket partnership between England skipper Eoin Morgan and all-rounder Moeen Ali.
Morgan led from the front, as he smashed his 11th career ton, making 107 off 93 deliveries while Ali contributed an unbeaten 77 to push England to a demanding total of 339.
The bowling performance was average, as 19 runs came off extras, which seven were wides and four were no-balls.
Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo took two wickets a piece, while Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell took one scalp.
"England played phenomenally well with the bat, credit to Morgs for the hundred," De Villiers was quoted as saying by AFP.
"They dominated the bowling and manipulated us, probably 20-30 above par and we didn't bat well enough. But congrats to them."
The Proteas looked to put some pressure on the English bowlers, as Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis shared a second-wicket stand of 112 before soft dismissals cost the Proteas the game.
Chris Woakes took four for 38 in eight overs, as the tourists were bundled out for 267.
"We couldn't get a partnership going and at the end of the day we were outplayed," said De Villiers.
The second ODI between England and South Africa gets underway on Saturday at 12:00 (SA time).