Only a 3-0 win will put South Africa one rating point ahead of England on 119.
Dubai: South Africa will be aiming to carry the winning momentum from their ODI series into the three-Test series against New Zealand, starting in Dunedin on Wednesday, as that will earn them the status of the No. 1 Test-ranked side in the world in the ICC Test Championship table.
If South Africa manage to become numero uno, it will be the first time since the Test rankings were introduced in 2001 that they would have reached the top spot.
Currently the second-ranked South Africa trail top-ranked England by just one rating point, and to move ahead of Andrew Strauss's side, the Proteas will have to win all the three Tests.
Only a 3-0 win will put South Africa one rating point ahead of England on 119, while any other series result will not be enough to help them make history.
However, if South Africa fail to achieve the desired result, then England will retain the mace they won at The Oval last year after defeating India 4-0.
India are currently in third position in the ranking table with 111 points.
Meanwhile, England and Sri Lanka also go head-to-head in a two-Test series from 26 March in Galle, but the series outcome will not affect the Test Championship table as the series will conclude on April 7 in Colombo while the cut-off date for the rankings is April 1.
But whichever team tops the chart, it will be presented with a cash award of USD 175,000.