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Piedt’s career-best performance propels South Africa back into contention

Piedt’s career-best performance propels South Africa back into contention

When Dane Piedt last played Test cricket for South Africa, at Ranchi in 2019, he struggled, conceding over 100 runs in just 18 overs against a dominant Rohit Sharma. This performance appeared to mark the end of his international career. However, more than four years later, in less spin-friendly conditions, the 33-year-old off-spinner made a remarkable comeback. Piedt’s career-best figures of 5 for 89 on the second day of the Hamilton Test gave South Africa an unexpected 31-run first-innings lead.

Earlier in the day, the Proteas looked poised to concede their first-ever series to New Zealand after losing four wickets for just 22 runs in the morning session, folding for 242. William O’Rourke, on debut, claimed four wickets, including that of half-centurion Ruan de Swardt and Dane Paterson off successive deliveries.

Despite the challenging start, South Africa refused to relinquish control to the hosts. Paterson’s early breakthrough, dismissing Devon Conway, set the tone. While the bowlers remained wicketless in the following overs, they kept the Black Caps’ scoring rate in check, conceding only 27 runs from 16 overs.

Kane Williamson and Tom Latham then steadied the innings with a 75-run partnership for the second wicket. However, Piedt turned the tide after the drinks break, dismissing both set batsmen in quick succession. Will Young and Rachin Ravindra provided some resistance with a brisk partnership, but South Africa continued to chip away at the wickets.

Young’s impatience cost him his wicket, and Neil Wagner’s aggressive cameo was cut short by Piedt, who claimed his fifth scalp of the innings. Wagner’s dismissal left New Zealand trailing by 31 runs, with South Africa firmly in control.

Brief scores: South Africa 242 lead New Zealand 211 (Kane Williamson 43; Dane Piedt 5-89, Dane Paterson 3-39) by 31 runs

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