Proteas allrounder Dwaine Pretorius, so very nearly lost to a Kolpak deal last month, is having the time of his life as he finds his feet on the Test stage.
The 30-year-old confirmed that he had agreed a deal with English County side Nottinghamshire, but a conversation with new Proteas Director of Cricket Graeme Smith and the prospect of a Test debut was reportedly enough to convince him to change his mind.
It was a decision he has not regretted.
Pretorius carded match of figures of 2/49 in 24 overs at Centurion in the first Test against England as South Africa emerged 107-run winners, while he also chipped in with a valuable 33 in the first innings of that match.
Then, on Friday, he was visibly fired up as he took two wickets in quick succession – Jos Buttler and Sam Curran – to help spark the Proteas towards another commanding position.
While the wicket of Buttler was perhaps the most important of the two, Curran’s dismissal was more aesthetically pleasing as Pretorius, bowling around the wicket, angled one in that the left-hander left alone only to see his off-stump go cartwheeling out of the ground.
Pretorius, the extra seamer in this South African attack, finished with another impressive return of 2/26 (11).
Speaking after the day’s play, he opened up on how pleased he was to be representing his country.
“I’m just glad to be playing Test cricket,” he said.
“It’s a dream come true … a kid from Rustenburg playing Test cricket.
“A New Years Test at Newlands is a massive dream come true and that’s why I decided not to pursue that other opportunity.
“I’m just glad to be here and to be contributing to the team. I couldn’t ask for anything more at the moment.”
What Pretorius lacks in pace he makes up for in accuracy and control, and he says he knows what is expected of him when he gets the ball in his hands.
“Faf (Du Plessis) and Bouch (Mark Boucher) have been very specific with my role and I think I understand it quite well at the moment,” he said.
“It’s for me to make sure that I go for as little runs as possible, dry up an end then try and strike that way and then also build some pressure for out strike bowlers who bowl at 150 kph.”
Pretorius will bat for the Proteas on day two of the second Test on Saturday.