Johannesburg: There's a particular type of excitement which accompanies a departure. It may be hope for something better on the other side, curiosity of the unknown or anticipation to try something new. In the case of the South African team, the overriding feeling when they left Johannesburg on Monday was determination to complete a mission they have been building up to for months.
Victory over England in the Test series will see South Africa ranked the No.1 Test side. It's a position that has been within reach but just out of their grasp, for almost as long as the rankings have been around. Briefly, South African touched the top, for four months in 2009 after their first successful tour to England since readmission. Graeme Smith hopes that this time they can repeat history and make it count for longer.
"I don't think we need much more motivation to beat England," Smith said, at the team's departure press conference. "We've come close to the top of the rankings for a period of time. We're hoping this will be the year that we can take ourselves to the next level."