South Africa captain Graeme Smith expressed his disappointment after watching his side's two-year unbeaten record go up in smoke following a seven-wicket defeat to Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.
Smith's Proteas can only square the Two-Test series at best after being bowled out for 232 and 249 in between Pakistan's first-innings 442.
That set Misbah Ul-Haq's men just 40 for victory, a target they reached despite slumping to 7-3 early in the chase.
Speaking afterwards, Smith admitted his side failed to hit the heights which have seen them soar to the top of the ICC Test rankings.
"We have set really high standards for ourselves, but credit goes to Misbah and his boys, right from session one, they have been ahead in the game and played better cricket. Even though we showed good character in parts, our skills were not up to the mark," said Smith.
"The first morning was a tough time to bat, but we still got into ourselves into good position in the first innings, but then we fell apart a bit. Only posting 249 puts you under pressure. Our bowlers weren't that bad, but we were certainly not up to the standards we set for ourselves."
Smith also confirmed that Hashim Amla, whose standalone century in Abu Dhabi offered the Proteas some consolation, is a doubt for the second Test, which will get underway at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Amla will soon return to South Africa for the birth of his child, with the left-handed Dean Elgar a likely replacement.
"We have to look at our ability to bounce back and have to improve on a few things and see how we can be more effective, and hopefully make the right decisions. Hashim is the best batsman in the world at the moment, the birth of his child is a big moment for him, and I wish him and his wife best of luck," concluded Smith.
Pakistan captain Misbah sealed the victory in style with a six and he was full of praise for his players after the match.
"It (victory) was much needed for us," Misbah said. "A win is always important for a team to boost its confidence and especially against the No 1 team, it's something special.
"Conditions suit our batting and the record of our bowlers is very good here in the UAE which was a major difference in both teams. Conditions do play an important role in the results of test matches."