South Africa will draw confidence from their record on the subcontinent as they seek to replace India at the top of the world rankings in their two-Test series starting Saturday.
India dislodged South Africa as the number one Test side in December after beating Sri Lanka 2-0 at home, and a series victory against the Proteas would consolidate their position.
South Africa can snatch back the coveted ranking only if they win the series 2-0. A 1-0 victory would leave both teams level on 123 points. "India now hold the mantle of number one in the world, which is a credit to the way they have played," South Africa skipper Graeme Smith said ahead of the first Test in Nagpur. But we have come here to hopefully play better than them, and take it away from them. That's something we are talking about."
Smith said it was tough to win a series in the subcontinent and success is "a real feather in your cap."
"But we won in Pakistan on our last tour there, we won in Bangladesh, we came very close to winning the series here in India. We were 1-0 going into the last Test, so I think generally we have played well," he said.
On their last tour of India in 2008, South Africa won on a greentop in Ahmedabad, before the hosts levelled the series on a turning wicket in Kanpur. The first Test was drawn.
The task this time appears more daunting for South Africa, who are going into the series after a week of turmoil at home that ended in the resignation of long-serving coach Mickey Arthur.
The second and final Test will be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata from February 14.