England collapsed to 180 all out inside two sessions of the final Test as South Africa fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel shared nine wickets on a rain-shortened first day.
Only a fifth-wicket stand of 76 either side of lunch between England's Cape Town saviours Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell even hinted at worthwhile resistance, the tourists bowled out in 47.5 overs after choosing to bat first on a pacy Wanderers pitch.
There was then time only for South Africa to reply with 29 for none as rain and bad light wiped out all but 12 overs of the evening session.
Strauss did not do a great deal wrong, falling to an astounding catch at short-leg by Hashim Amla off Steyn. He pushed a length ball off the face of the bat from which he could have expected to collect a couple of runs. But Amla dived to his right to take a one-handed catch and give South Africa a flying start to a match they must win.
After two overs, England were seven for two - Trott concluding a fretful, eight-ball innings when he played across a full-length ball to go lbw to Morkel.
Kevin Pietersen mis-pulled Morkel, presenting an easy catch to mid-on, and Alastair Cook was given out lbw by umpire Tony Hill - and third official Daryl Harper, after a DRS appeal. Despite video evidence which suggested Morkel was mighty close to overstepping, Harper ruled the delivery was legitimate.
Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood steadied the ship before the break but the latter lasted only five overs after lunch, going three short of his 50 via a leading edge to gully as Ryan McLaren got one to hold up from a leg-and-middle line.
Bell was gone soon afterwards, Steyn returning from the Corlett Drive end with a perfectly-disguised delivery which snaked back between bat and pad.
After Steyn bagged his third wicket, Matt Prior gloving an attempted hook behind, three big blows had been dealt at the cost of just 21 runs. Only the tail was left - but Graeme Swann helped to add a handy 44 for the final three wickets, including 25 for the last with James Anderson.
In the time available between breaks for the poor weather, the evidence in favourable bowling conditions suggested Ryan Sidebottom and James Anderson were reading the right script as Graeme Smith and Ashwell Prince were each beaten several times - without reward - and neither was given easy scoring opportunities before the close.