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Defeat has left sour taste - Strauss

Andrew Strauss expected his men to flourish, but instead floundered as SA dominated.

England's batsman Andrew Strauss ducks during a test match. Picture: AFP

LONDON - England captain Andrew Strauss was left with a "sour taste in the mouth" after his team suffered a crushing innings and 12-run defeat by South Africa in the first test on Monday.

In a battle between the world's top two teams, and with England's number one ranking on the line, Strauss had expected his men to flourish in the familiar conditions but instead floundered as South Africa dominated the contest to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.

""Most of my regrets are that we did not come out with a draw," Strauss told reporters. ""We should have done that."

Strauss especially rued how England lost wickets at times in the match when he thought they could have done better like on Friday morning when they plummeted from their overnight 267 for three to 385 all out.

In the second innings on Sunday, England lost four key batsmen to close 102 for four, en route to being 240 all out.

South Africa had far less trouble on a placid batting surface at The Oval, as they posted a huge total of 637 for two. Hashim Amla broke the national batting record with 311 not out.

"Losing four wickets last night was a body blow for us," said Strauss.

"The South Africans did get it reversing today and with more wickets in hand we could have batted out the day.