16 Dec 2010

India look to cement their place at top of cricket world rankings

5:46 am on 16 December 2010

The Indian cricket team will be under pressure to justify their number one ranking by winning away from home as they square off against second-placed South Africa in a three-match test series starting at Centurion tonight.

India have not lost a home series since 2004, but their away form has been less impressive and the South African captain Graeme Smith says they're under pressure to show they could win in foreign conditions.

India have won just one of 12 tests in South Africa.

Overcast and rainy weather should suit South Africa's fast bowlers even more and India's batsmen face a stern trial by pace, bounce, seam and swing on a pitch totally unlike the surfaces they are used to at home.

The Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni agrees the conditions will be very different from the sub-continent, but says it's a challenge for his side to prove they can take their game to the next level.