• In the vast majority of cases, cricket teams at the international level have done poorly when called upon to be the tourists.

    Australia owns the Poms when it comes to the years when the Ashes is played in Australia, but they have not won in England since 2001. It almost makes one wonder if it is worth the jet lag and dreary weather on arrival, with the only true benefit that the Brits know how to make an outstanding cup of tea.

    Neither does Australia seem to be able to win in India, but they have good success when the world’s number one team leaves the subcontinent of Asia and tours down under.

    The exception to the rule, one that will be put to the test over the near future, is when Australia finds itself in South Africa for four Tests against the Proteas, beginning in Durban.

    Unlike the usual state of affairs, where tourists struggle, when South Africa and Australia get together, it is the home side that struggles.

    This remarkable state of affairs goes back at least as far as the past seven series and the last time Australia defended home ground was in 2005 – 2006.

    Australia has not lost a series in South Africa in almost 50 years, the last time being in 1970. That occasion was one of only two times the Proteas have managed to defend home ground against an Aussie XI.

    It would seem that unlike the wickets in England and India, those in South Africa and Australia are remarkably similar, even allowing for the preparation of the oval designed to favour the host nation.

    “It’s a terrific place to tour and conditions wise it’s quite similar to what we have at home,” Australian captain Steve Smith wrote in a recent column for foxsports.com.au.

    The two sides feature pace attacks. This series will pit Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins firing against Proteas pacemen Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.

    “They’re (the two fast-bowling attacks) probably the best in the world, in my eyes, going head to head, so it’s going to be one hell of a series, that’s for sure,” said Australian spinner Nathan Lyon.