South Africa and Australia will be playing for the No 1 one-day ranking when their five-match series begins tomorrow at Kingsmead.
Australia - which has won the past three World Cups, including the 2003 edition in South Africa - relinquished top spot to the Proteas after losing 4-1 at home earlier this year.
But South Africa, despite not bringing its best form to World Cups, has maintained a high win rate with great fielding and bowling and a batting lineup stacked with talent like Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers, Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy.
In Australia a couple of months ago, stand-in captain Johan Botha’s off spinners and all-rounder Albie Morkel’s big hitting took South Africa to a convincing ODI series win.
South Africa will have Smith back in the team after the captain had a finger broken by fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, who also broke a a finger on Smith’s other hand during the second test at Kingsmead last month.
“It’s always good to get the opportunity to bowl with the new ball against an opening batsman like Smith. He’s such a great player,” Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to trying to get his wicket.”