Angelo Mathew’s troops come into the side with a inexperienced 15-man squad with only three players having toured South Africa before.
“There’s no big series or small series,” said Du Plessis at Newlands. “People expect us to beat Sri Lanka, but that’s definitely not the case.”
“Sri Lanka has played really good cricket over the times and they’ve also lost some key players, which is something we’ll try and make sure we’ll get into that.
“They are really a very quality cricket team and they got exceptional spin bowlers. So hopefully we can keep the ball from turning too much in the series,” added Du Plessis with a smile.
The last time the two teams met in South Africa, the Proteas clinched the three-Test series 2-1 in 2011/12.
Mathews said that the main challenges his troops will be facing is the alien and trying conditions.
Former Proteas and now-turned Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford’s experience and insight will no doubt be a boost for the islanders.
However it’s going to take more than outside knowledge to topple over an inform Proteas squad who come off a high after defeating Australia 2-1 in their own backyard.
Sri Lanka, who also won a three-match home Test series against Australia in August, comfortably beat Zimbabwe in a two-Test series in Harare last month.
The first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka get underway on December 26 in Port Elizabeth.
Sri Lanka squad:
Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Pradeep, Vikum Sanjaya Bandara, Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera.
Faf du Plessis (Titans, captain), Kyle Abbott (Warriors), Hashim Amla (Cape Cobras), Temba Bavuma (Highveld Lions), Stephen Cook (Highveld Lions), Theunis de Bruyn (Knights), Quinton de Kock (Titans), JP Duminy (Cape Cobras), Dean Elgar (Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Dolphins), Wayne Parnell (Cape Cobras), Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (Highveld Lions)