South African skipper Graeme Smith on Friday sought to put India under pressure, saying that with their number one Test status at stake, the injury-hit hosts risk losing everything while his side can only gain from the two-match series starting Saturday.
"The bigger opportunity (than topping the ranking) for us is to beat India. And I think at the moment, we have everything to gain on this tour and India have got everything to lose," Smith told reporters on the eve of the first Test in Nagpur.
"My aspect is just about coming in Nagpur to play better cricket than India and hopefully, to be able to adapt our style of play to these conditions. The opportunity to beat India excites us and if we do that we get the ranking," the opener said.
Already weakened by the absence of middle-order mainstay Rahul Dravid and dashing left-hander Yuvraj Singh, the hosts are also sweating over the fitness of another stalwart VVS Laxman, who is nursing a finger injury.
Smith said the visitors would look to capitalise on this.
"Guys like Laxman, Dravid are quality players, with huge amount of experience. Not only do they bring experience, they bring calmness to the Indian team. From our aspect it's an opportunity," the 29-year-old left-hander said.
The 81-Test veteran felt there would be extra pressure on Indian openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag in the absence of Dravid and Yuvraj.