Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

No joke as Piedt delivers in style after Proteas recall

Dane Piedt took 5/89 to help give the Proteas a first-innings lead against New Zealand.

Dane Piedt might have thought Proteas coach Shukri Conrad was pulling his leg when he was recalled to the national Test squad, but the 33-year-old spin bowler put all jokes aside on Wednesday as he took full advantage of his opportunity against New Zealand.

More than four years after he played the last of his nine previous Tests for the national team, Piedt received a text message from Conrad late last year, asking if he was available for the two-Test series against the Black Caps.

At first, Piedt thought he was joking, but after it was explained that a clash with the SA20 series required Conrad to select a second-string squad, Piedt was fully on board. And he showed his appreciation to the team’s head coach by taking a career-best 5/89 on Wednesday to give the tourists a 31-run first innings lead in the second Test in Hamilton.

“Shuks told me ‘I’m being dead serious’. I didn’t know of anything that was going on at the time (regarding the SA20 clash)… but just to get this opportunity gives me a lot of pride,” Piedt said.

Memorable day

Midway through the second Test, the Proteas were relieved to finally have a better day than their hosts as they attempted to hit back after last week’s convincing defeat at Mount Maunganui.

Having been bowled out for 242 runs on Wednesday, the SA team went on to restrict the Black Caps to 211. Aside from Piedt’s career best, seam bowler Dane Paterson also shone with the ball, taking 3/39.

They needed to hit their straps again with the bat in the early hours of Thursday morning (SA time), but Piedt said their all-round performance in the first half of the series decider had raised morale in the Proteas camp heading into day three.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day (on Wednesday). I thought we controlled the run-rate from the first over… and it was a great effort from everybody involved,” Piedt said.

“We’re just very proud of how everyone put their hands up and competed.”

Read more on these topics

Proteas cricket team

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits