After failing in the Litmus Test, captain of the No.1 Test side Virat Kohli said the ranking has never been a motivation for him and it disappoints him to the core when India don't win matches under his captaincy.
Currently, at 124 ranking points, World No. 1 India are leading second-placed South Africa by 13 points and a whitewash would result in both teams being on 118 points with India being marginally ahead on decimal points.
"I don't think that (ranking) has been our motivation ever. We focused on the kind of cricket that we want to play. Obviously it's disappointing when you don't win games. But every game you play you have to start afresh and not think about what happened in the past," Kohli said ahead of the third and final Test, Starting Wednesday in Johannesburg.
"We are going to treat this Test as an individual Test match that we need to come out and play our best cricket and try to be in the same positions we were in the first two Tests and try to consolidate on it and actually close the game."
According to the India skipper, the performance of the pacers have been a big boost for the team and he hinted at employing an all-seam attack against South Africa on a typical green Wanderers track.
"Chances of anything happening are very bright. As I said, there is a lot of grass on the pitch. We would definitely look at that option. I am sure both the teams would be thinking about those options," Kohli said, when asked if India might go with an all-pace attack.
"Not many times on overseas tours we have picked 40 wickets in two Test matches. So, I think that's a big boost for us if the bowlers can continue doing their job. As I said, we have taken 40 wickets so far and we need to figure out what's the best way to pick up 20 wickets again in this Test."
"We are going to have a discussion on that and the other combinations of the whole team. We will have a clear picture by the end of this afternoon," he added.
Indian batsmen have come a cropper in the Test series and Kohli hoped they would learn from their mistakes.
"I said before the series that whichever side bats better wins the series, and that's been the case so far. The batsmen are looking to rectify their mistakes that happened in the first two games because it's a chance for everyone to step up in times that have not gone our way and to change things around for us," he said.
India have never lost at Wanderers in four Tests, which includes a thrilling draw in 2013 and Kohli said his team will focus on the things that worked for them the last time.
"Well, I think 2013 was a very exciting Test for everyone to be involved in, for both the teams as well as the crowd. It was a very memorable Test match for me personally and for us as a team because we gave South Africa a total and forced them to play their best cricket to go for it," he said.
"I feel really good when I walk into this ground. The last time's Test match was very special and hopefully, we can have as exciting a cricket this time too. We will definitely focus on the things that worked for us last time."
Kohli said they would take positives from the 2013 Test.
"Although there is more grass on the wicket this time, you know the pace and bounce will probably be similar to what it was in 2013 also. Their bowling attack is slightly different but Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander are playing which was the case last time also," he said.
"We have to take the positives from that Test, what worked for us, what other things we have to repeat again to be able to perform at this game or this venue. We'd love to have another situation where we can capitalise and this time around actually consolidate on it and bring the Test towards us rather than let it slip away again.
"As a team we are looking to correct all the mistakes that have happened. Wanderers has been a special venue for us, hopefully, we can play the same kind of cricket," he added.
Kohli has termed this South African tour as a learning experience and said his team would try not to repeat the mistakes and take the field afresh on Wednesday.
"Well, every game is a learning, whether you win or lose. The only thing that you learn is to try and not make those errors. That's probably the only thing that you take forward as a captain and as an individual also," he said.
"I have been learning everyday, it's not like you stop learning at any stage; when you win you learn as well. So, we don't only look at the things that haven't gone our way, try to rectify those and keep the positives in our head at the same time," said Kohli.
Kohli said he doesn't see defeats as a burden and wants to take the losses in his stride and move forward.
"Responsibility can become less or more according to the phases, it's all about hanging in there and accepting all the phases that are coming your way. So even this is a part of it. I have to take it in my stride and go forward. And not sit here and say 'this is a lot of burden'," he said.
"I'm willing to go through any kind of phase. I have gone through bad phases in my career. Ups and downs are a part of a sportsman's career and I understand that. As I said you learn everyday and keep moving forward," he added.
(With PTI inputs)