England face South Africa in three test matches that will decide who is the number one test side in the world.
Andrew Strauss knows a drawn series would be enough to keep his side number one but the England captain wants to beat the tourists so England can cement their number one world ranking.
But if the Proteas can inflict the first series defeat on England since Pakistan recorded a series whitewash victory at the start of the year.
Strauss confirmed Ravi Bopara will make his first Test appearance in over a year after the Essex batsman impressed against Australia in the recent One Day Internationals. He is likely to bat at number 6.
With the world number one and two sides going head to head much of the talk is about the bowling attacks. Graham Onions has pulled out of England's squad with a thigh strain. Tim Bresnan and Steve Finn will contest the last bowling place.
Strauss said: "South Africa are a very fine side, they've proved that over the last couple of years and they'll be determined to knock us off our perch."
"There's a little bit of spice to this series because it's number 1 and 2 teams in the world but every time i've played against South Africa has always been very keenly contested"