Johannesburg: South Africa will have a chance to join India at the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test team rankings when the two sides go face to face in the three-Test series, starting in Cape Town on January 5.
Faf du Plessis' side is presently 13 points behind Virat Kohli's team, which is sitting on top of the table on 124 points.
However, both the sides will finish on 118 points if the South Africa side makes a clean sweep of the series.
Nevertheless, even in that scenario, India will be ranked above South Africa when the points are calculated beyond the decimal point.
On the other side of the coin, if India win all the three Tests of the series, then they will move to 128 points while South Africa will slip to 107 points.
India have earlier defeated the South Africa 3-0 the last time the two sides met in the longest format, back in 2015. But India played that series at home.
On foreign pitches, India have a poor record as they have failed to win in South Africa in six Test series since 1992.
South Africa head coach Ottis Gibson has also said that his side will try to clean sweep the series against India to reclaim the top spot in Test rankings in coming times.
"In ODI cricket I don't worry too much about the rankings, but in Test cricket it is a lot different. Because there is no Test Championship just yet, the prize at the end of it is to reach the pinnacle to be called the best Test team in the world, even if only for a series or a week", Sport24 quoted Gibson as saying.
India will tour England and Australia this year and the Proteas will host the Aussies.