Former Australia captain Steve Waugh believes Steve Smith's side should be judged on recent successes after the tour of South Africa.

Australia and South Africa will go head-to-head in a blockbuster four-Test series, starting in Durban on Thursday.

It will pit first against second in the ICC Test rankings, with the Aussies looking to dethrone the South Africans following their 4-0 Ashes drubbing of England.

Despite Australia's good form, Waugh insisted judgements should be made post-South Africa.

"I think we can be judged after the South Africa tour and that's when we'll know truly where we are," Waugh told Omnisport, speaking at the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards.

"That's a bit of a litmus test right now, they're a really good side, home conditions, a great bowling attack.

"So if we win that series I think we can say we're travelling pretty well."

Australia will field an unchanged XI for the opening Test against South Africa – rewarding the men who crushed England by an innings in the final Ashes match at the SCG.

The Aussies are also coming off victory against New Zealand in the Twenty20 tri-series final.