Can South Africa break Australia hoodoo at home?

As South Africa and Australia prepare to lock horns in what promises to be an evenly fought Test series, we look at what’s on offer for the winner, in terms of the ICC Test rankings, past meetings and more.

In 2017, captain Steve Smith amassed 1305 runs from 11 Tests at a staggering average of 76.76 (6x100, 3x50) and will be Australia's batting linchpin against South Africa.   -  AFP

South Africa will host heavyweight Australia in a four-Test series starting March 1 in Durban. On the eve of the tantalising contest between two in-form teams - the host beat India 2-1 in a three-Test series and Australia regained the Ashes at home beating England 4-0 - we look at what’s on offer for the winner, in terms of the ICC Test rankings, past meetings and more.

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Rankings scenario While India will remain No. 1 in Tests irrespective of the outcome, the following are the scenarios for South Africa and Australia. 

SA 4-0 Aus: South Africa (currently with 114) will move to within two rating points of India (121), on 119, pushing Australia down to fourth.

SA 3-1 Aus: Australia will remain third, even if it loses the series 3-1. 

SA 1-3 Aus: Australia will remain third but close the gap with the host to just one point.

SA 0-4 Aus: Australia will overtake the Proteas and move to the second spot, even if it wins this series 0-3.

Drawn series: Australia will gain two rating points but remain third and South Africa will remain on 114. 

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Australia’s dominance Australia's record against South Africa in South Africa is praiseworthy, particularly taking into account how good a Test side the latter has been over the last decade.It has won 27 of the 38 Tests played at home, losing only 11.  

However, the Proteas have not managed to win any of their previous five home Test series against Australia this century, with the men in baggy green winning four and drawing one. 

South Africa has trumped its nemesis only twice in 14 attempts at home, those two series triumphs coming before its suspension from international cricket in 1970. 

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Survivors from the past

David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, and Pat Cummins are the only players from the current Australia squad who have played Tests in South Africa. 

South Africa has a few new faces too-  Lungi Ngidi, Wiaan Mulder, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, and Theunis de Bruyn - who will go up against Australia for the first time.