After registering nine consecutive Test series victories since 2015, India will be duly tested in overseas conditions when they aim to overcome a formidable South Africa in the first of a three-match series at the Newlands in Cape Town on Friday.
India maintained their Test series winning streak since defeating Sri Lanka 2-1 in their away series. The top ranked side in the longest format had also defeated South Africa on their own turf in the 2015-16 Freedom Trophy series.
However, India have not won a series against the Proteas on South African soil since 1992 -- losing four and drawing one in 2010-11.
India will bank on their premier batsmen -- Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli -- who ended 2017 as the second and fourth highest runs scorers in the longest format respectively, in the calendar year to help their side maintain its top Test status.
Key Indian batsmen Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay and Lokesh Rahul will look to add depth to the batting department.
Skipper Kohli might opt to play an extra batsman -- Rohit Sharma -- in place of Ravindra Jadeja, who is down with flu.
Pacer Jasprit Bumrah -- who received his maiden call up in Test squad -- alongside Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be tested against the formidable South African batting on the green-top wicket.
Second ranked Test side South Africa, on the other hand, will look to flourish on their home conditions with the likes of batsmen Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis.
The well set-up bowling department will be led by pacer Kagiso Rabada -- who ranks second in the Test bowlers list alongside fit-again Dale Steyn, right-armer Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander, who will look to dismiss the visitors right at the start of the match.