Harare: Dane Piedt became the second South African in 126 years to take a wicket with his first ball in test cricket but said it was not his most memorable scalp of the day and that he could have played better.
He helped his side restrict hosts Zimbabwe to 248 for nine at the close at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
The off-spinner had found out 24 hours before that he would be drafted into the side for Imran Tahir and said he had been keen to “make a statement” with his first delivery.
That he did by trapping Mark Vermeulen leg before wicket on a pitch that was flat for the quicks but which held plenty of turn on the opening morning of the one-off test.
“I fancied the wicket after looking at it this morning and I put a lot into that first delivery,” Piedt told reporters.
“I had spoken to Hendo (South Africa`s spin consultant Claude Henderson) about how it was important to make a statement with your first delivery of a spell and fortunately enough it paid off and it worked.
“I actually enjoyed the second dismissal more though, to dismiss (Hamilton) Masakadza. It turned through the gate and hit the top of off-stump.”
Figures of four for 90 from 24 overs amount to a fine debut so far, although the perfectionist in Piedt, who also dropped a sharp caught and bowled chance towards the end of the day, was not satisfied.
“I let myself down a bit by not containing like I wanted to, it is just fortunate I got some wickets," he said.
"There was a period after lunch when I got a bit greedy, saw the wicket was turning a bit and tried to much. But I will sit down with the consultants and work it out.”
Piedt also said he had not unleashed his full arsenal on Zimbabwe and has held back some variations for the second innings when the wicket is likely to turn square.
“I still have my top-spinner and cannonball and I will try to use them later in the game, but for now I just wanted to settle down and bowl a lot of overs,” he said.
Piedt’s fourth wicket was Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor, who was caught on the midwicket boundary by JP Duminy for 93.
Taylor, who was clearly annoyed at having missed out on a fifth test century, said: “I didn’t have enough faith in my tailenders and kept thinking that the new ball was coming."
He also praised the reverse swing of Dale Steyn, who collected figures of four for 45 on a pitch that gave him no pace and little bounce.
“The surface is bone dry and very abrasive so it`s not surprising Dale was able to get it going early. The wicket will only get worse," said Taylor.
"The amount of spin on the ball in the first hour and a half is just unheard of in a test and we have a couple of guys to exploit that. That gives us hope.
“If we can try to keep them (South Africa) out there (fielding) as long as possible and take time out of the game, that will be good.
"It will be hard with the ball. We will bowl our seamers in short spells, get the ball to reverse and use our spin bowlers.”