Captain Graeme Smith is confident South Africa have got what it takes to replace England as the number one team in the world test rankings.
Something has to give when England, who have not lost a home series for four years, take on second-ranked South Africa in a three-match encounter that starts later this month.
England’s last home defeat was against the Proteas who have not lost on their travels since 2006.
“We hope getting to number one can be a reward for our consistency,” Smith told reporters on Saturday.
“We have been near the top of the rankings for a long time now and had a taste of it for a small while (in 2008).
“We are hoping now with everything we’ve done, and the way we’ve prepared, and are going to prepare, that we will be ready for the first test at The Oval (on July 19),” added Smith.
The South Africans, fresh from a few days of team bonding in the Swiss Alps, are in upbeat mood.
“We have come here with a degree of quiet confidence,” said Smith. “We have performed well away from home for a period of time now.
“We have that strength within the squad and strength in confidence to know we can perform well away from home.
“Having had success here in 2008, we are hoping to build on that and taste that again but England are a quality team. They look well drilled and we expect them to keep coming at us throughout the series.”
Smith said his pace trio Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander were ready and waiting to challenge England’s batsmen.
“They know their roles and seem to bowl spells that win games. It is nice to have match-winners in the squad,” said the skipper.
“We respect every English batsman but hopefully we will be able to find ways to get them out cheaply throughout the series and be able to create enough pressure.
“I believe we have got the bowlers to do that and hopefully we can put that into practice.”