Only a year ago, England were preparing to topple India from the summit of Test cricket. Now, with India having plummeted to fifth in the rankings, England are ready to defend their Test crown against the latest challengers, South Africa. How quickly times change.
India's current travails in the Test arena are another story altogether. But few would argue that the three-Test series starting at The Oval on Thursday between Andrew Strauss's side and Graeme Smith's South Africans is worthy of top billing in the world game.
South Africa are unbeaten in Test series overseas for six years, and that demonstrates that they are far from the bottlers they are often portrayed as in crunch games. England, meanwhile, have won their last seven Test series at home; the 3-0 away loss to Pakistan earlier this year being a freakish blot on an otherwise impressive record of recent years.