Cape Town - Acting Australia head coach Justin Langer looked on helplessly as his side were bamboozled by the Proteas’ spin trio of Imran Tahir, Aaron Phangiso and Tabraiz Shamsi in Guyana.
Langer wants to see his team improve on their basics when they face the South Africans in St Kitts on Saturday.
The Perth Scorchers’ coach, who is filling in for Darren Lehmann, told the press: "I just thought we didn't pick the ball well enough out of the spinner's hand,
"That's something that is just a basic of batting."
The former Aussie opener conceded the conditions didn't favour his batsmen, but refused to use that as an excuse: "Under those lights and in those conditions it was tough.
"But you give yourself a chance if you pick the ball up early out of the bowler's hand."
The Australian batting line-up showed a lack of patience chasing a total (190) that appeared modest, but ultimately proved challenging.
Langer noted: "We weren't as patient as we needed to be. We said before the game if it takes us 50 overs to get it, it takes us 50 overs to get it."
The feeling coming out of the Aussie dressing room is that they failed to execute their basics well enough, with Langer highlighting the failure to build partnerships and bat as a team: "We talked about adapting, we talked about having good partnerships and looking after each other.
"We probably didn't do any of those things particularly well the other night."
Langer will be in charge only up until the end of the triangular series, but has said previously that he would do his utmost to continue the good work done by Lehmann through this series, and he will be looking for a massive improvement when his charges clash with South Africa.