Gut feel number 1: When the opposition bats first, either they collapse or the South Africans collapse.
Facts: Lets define collapse as one where the team gets bowled out for below 200, so as you can see, whenever they fail to bowl the opposition out for below 200, their batting panics and they instead collapse. This has happened in each of the last 5 tests the opposition batted first.
India vs South Africa 1st test: Ind- 136, RSA-620
India vs South Africa 2nd test: Ind-205, RSA-131 (Ind batted 2nd in the 3rd test)
South Africa vs Australia 1st test: Aus-284, RSA-96 (Aus batted 2nd in the 2nd test)
South Africa vs Sri Lanka 1st test: SL- 180, RSA-411
South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2nd test: SL-338, RSA-168
Interestingly, all these happened in front of their home audience. Looking further back at tests played at home when the opposition batted first, we find
South Africa vs England 4th test: Eng- 180, RSA-423/7 (England batted 2nd in all three remaining tests)
South Africa vs Australia 1st test: Aus-466, RSA-220 (2008/09 series)
South Africa vs Australia 2nd test: Aus- 352, RSA-138
South Africa vs Australia 3rd test: Aus-209, RSA- 651 (yes, the 200 model doesn’t fit to a T but a similar pattern is quite glaringly visible)
So the gist of it all is if you happen to bat first against South Africa, get a decent total, sit back, and enjoy them press the self-destruct button.
Gut feel number 2: Mark Boucher and Ashwell Prince are walking wickets/ South African tail begins at no.6
Facts: Since December 2009, Prince has come out to bat on 26 occasions, he’s passed 50 thrice and two of those were against the West Indies.
Since Boucher isn’t in as a pure batsman, let’s reduce his cutoff to a random looking lowly 18.Even then, he’s managed to pass that figure just thrice in his last 14 innings dating back to June 2010.
The South African tail indeed begins at number 6.
So, when it comes to South Africa, the gut is indeed right. Also, can a team with such mental fragility and ridiculously short batting line up seriously aim to be no.1? My gut says they aren’t good enough for even no.3!