They call it the World Test Championships. While the contest name looks more magnanimous than it really is, it certainly cannot be downplayed in any sense as world's number one Test team set to battle the second best in the two-match Test series at home to retain its Test supremacy.
And as the top two Test teams - India and South Africa - lock horns, CricketNDTV.com takes a look at how they have fared against each other in the past and where do they stand in the upcoming series. (Pic: AFP)
India and South Africa have played 22 Tests against each other, out of which India have won just five and drawn seven. The Proteas have a better winning percentage as they have ten wins to their credit.
However, when it comes to playing on the Indian soil, South Africans are at par with the hosts. In all 10 Tests have been played between the two teams in India with both teams winning four games and two finishing as draws. (Pic: AFP)
Both teams boast of some heavyweight and seasoned batsmen in their camp. While Sachin Tendulkar remains the leading run-getter for India with 1202 runs in 36 innings at an average of 35.35 with three hundreds, Jacques Kallis leads the South African pack with 884 runs in 20 innings at an average of 55.25 with two centuries.
In the last series during 2007-08, Virender Sehwag had slammed his second triple hundred. On a docile Chennai track, Sehwag made 319 runs.
From the South African camp, AB de Villiers emerged as the highest scorer in an innings after he made an unbeaten 217 runs in the Ahmedabad Test of the 2007-08 series.
During the same series, Sehwag became the second highest run-getter in a series between the two with 372 runs in five innings, while Neil McKenzie became the third highest scorer with 341 runs in five innings. Mohammad Azharuddin is the leading scorer in a series with 388 runs in 6 innings during the 1996-97 series. (Pic: AFP)
With bowlers like Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell in the team, South African bowling has a very potent look. On the other hand, India have Zaheer Khan along side Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma to test the Proteas.
While the younger lot of Mishras and Morkels has proved its talent, it is Indian off-spinner Harbhajan who enjoys some successful memories against the South Africans. In the last series of 2007-08, Harbhajan became the third highest wicket-taker in a series between the two teams. He had picked 19 wickets in three Tests at an average of 26.10. He will also be excited by the fact that India play the second Test against Graeme Smith and his team on his favourite hunting ground - Kolkata. He has an impressive bowling figure of 7-87 that came in 2004-05.
While Bhajji leads the current crop, Indian spin legend Anil Kumble remains the highest wicket-taker with 84 wickets in 21 Tests followed by pacer Javagal Srinath with 64 wickets in 13 Tests and Allan Donald with 57 wickets in 11 Tests. (Pic: AFP)
Despite their strengths and brilliant past records, both India and South Africa have their share of troubles. The Indian side is missing key players like Rahul Dravid, recuperating a broken jaw, Yuvraj Singh nursing his left wrist and pacer Sreesanth. While Sreesanth, who is missing the action due to a hamstring injury, is hopeful of making a comeback in the second Test.
On the other hand, South Africa will be playing under new coach Corrie van Zyl as former coach Mickey Arthur resigned before the tour. To add to their woe, the South African board had sacked the entire selection panel. Proteas skipper Smith was, however, confident the team would recover from the recent setbacks and perform well. (Pic: AFP)
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