World number one South Africa will hold most of the aces against an unpredictable Pakistan when the teams open a two-Test series from Monday.
Graeme Smith’s Proteas are unbeaten in a Test series (away from home) since losing to Sri Lanka 2-0 in 2006.
South Africa have beaten Pakistan in 11 of their 21 Tests, losing only three and drawing the remaining seven. Pakistan’s only series win came way back in 2003, on home ground.
Smith’s men routed Pakistan 3-0 when the two teams met in South Africa earlier this year. They also drew a two-Test series in the UAE in 2010.
Smith, who returns to international cricket following an ankle injury in March, believes his side are ready for all possibilities.
“In the last tour I think we played Ajmal well,” Smith said on Saturday. “I think we have had good success against them and that is nice to know,” said Smith.
Pakistan have only won one of their last eight Tests since Dav Whatmore took over as coach last year, and slipped to sixth in the rankings after a defeat against Zimbabwe last month.
But Misbah-ul Haq hoped his players will forget the past.
“It’s not good to be in the past,” said Misbah on Saturday. “It’s good that all our batsmen had good practice matches before the Test and that will give us more confidence.”