Forget the rankings and the rhetoric, Australia starts the Test Series against South Africa as firm favourites.
Australia have not lost a Test series in South Africa since 1970 and hold a psychological hold over the hosts.
The latest evidence of this was in 2011 when Australia fought back to level the series in Johannesburg after being bowled out for 45 in Capetown.
Since South Africa re-entered the fold, the Republic has been a happy hunting ground for the Aussies with great Test matches and great performances in recent memory.
Steve Waugh and Greg Blewett’s partnership, Adam Gilchrist’s blistering double-ton, victory in Shane Warne’s 100th Test, and more recently Phil Hughes becoming the youngest ever player to score a century in both innings.
The list could go on.
History has shown us that the South African conditions bring out the best in our players and coupled with our recent demolition of England we must go into this series as favourites.
Forget the South African’s Number one Test ranking, Australia have the mental ascendancy over their foes and deserve strong favouritism.
On the pitch South Africa have a massive hole to fill due to the departure of Jacques Kallis, and have no decent spin bowler.
The biggest Test for the Aussies will be the trio of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.
Australia meanwhile also have a trio of in-form fast bowlers but also add the variety of the emerging off spinner Nathan Lyon.
Australia’s batting has improved over the recent Ashes summer and look equipped to deal with the challenges.
Expect some tough and exciting cricket over the next three Tests with South Africa the rank underdogs looking to crawl out from under the Australian’s psychological hold over them.