South Africa have a fairly good Test record away from home against India but have only won a series there once before, and that was 15 years ago.
However, this will be the first time ever that the two teams face off over four Tests, rather than the usual two or three as was the case of years.
Hansie Cronje was the last captain to win a Test series in India back in 1999/00 when his team was victorious 2-0. Since then South Africa have lost a series once and drawn twice, giving them a Test record of 12 played, five won, five lost and two drawn.
SACricketmag.com took a look at what happened between the two sides on the previous two tours in India.
Result: Drawn 1-1 (3)
The first Test was drawn, but not before Virender Sehwag’s second triple-century left South Africa deflated on a flat track under a hot March sun. That was followed by a three-day Test in Ahmedabad, where the surface assisted South Africa’s quicks. India never stood a chance after being rolled over for 76 on the opening morning; AB de Villiers’ stunning 217 not out hastened a crushing innings defeat.
India’s response to that green top was to roll out a slow and low turner in Kanpur and, sure enough, their spinners rose to the occasion to avert a series loss. Led by future captain MS Dhoni in the absence of Anil Kumble, India rallied to a three-day innings victory.
Result: Drawn 1-1 (2)
Superb batting from Hashim Amla (253 not out) and Jacques Kallis (173) put South Africa on course for a famous win in Nagpur, with a total of 558-6 putting Dhoni’s team under pressure. Dale Steyn’s awe-inspiring 7-51 took care of the rest, as India folded for 233. Following-on, India made 319 out of which 100 were scored by Sachin Tendulkar.
This meant that India had to win at Eden Gardens. That they did, first crucially pulling South Africa back from 218-1 to 296 all out, and then going well ahead of the visitors in piling up 643-3 with Sehwag (165), Tendulkar (106), VVS Laxman (143) and Dhoni (132 not out) leading the way. Amla’s second century of the match, and third in a row against India, could not avert an innings defeat, boosted by Harbhajan Singh’s 5-59 from 48.3 overs.