Australian legend Mark Waugh believes South Africa's batting will be what holds them back from winning a Test during their three-match tour of Australia.

The Proteas were skittled twice on a green, seaming wicket during the first Test at the Gabba over the weekend, with the match ending inside two days and Australia chasing down the 34 runs required for victory in comfortable fashion.

South Africa, batting first, were knocked over for 152 in the first innings, before being bowled out for 99 in the second, although at one point were 9 for 69 with Australia for a brief period of time even likely to have not had to bat in a second innings.

It follows and continues a worrying trend for the Proteas, who only made more than 200 once in five innings against England, and in February were rolled for 95 and 111 in the same Test by New Zealand.

Speaking on RSN Radio, Waugh said South Africa do not have the batting to win a Test against Australia.

"I'm saying they can't win a Test match because their batting isn't good enough," Waugh said.

"If you look at their batting, they have Dean Elgar who has scored 13 hundreds, and the rest of the batting have scored I think two between them.

"In the last 18 months they have hardly scored a century."

South Africa's batting trend - created by an exodus of talent - has not carried across to its bowling, with the Proteas having one of the best attacks in world cricket and limiting Australia to 218 in the first innings, before taking 4 for 35 in the second.

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Waugh said they weren't as good as expected though.

"Their bowling is very good, although I didn't think Rabada and Ngidi at times looked as good as they were," he said.

"They will be competitive but they can't beat us."

The second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground gets underway on Boxing Day.