Prince, of course, watched Piedt closely last season in his role as Cape Cobras coach when the off-spinner claimed 54 first-class wickets that earned him a recall to the Proteas Test squad. Picture: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

First Test, Day 4, Lunch

India: 502/7 & 35/1

South Africa: 431 all out (Elgar 160, De Kock 111, Ashwin 7/145)

India lead by 106 runs

Former Proteas batsman Ashwell Prince believes Dane Piedt will deliver an improved performance in the second innings in the first Test against India in Visakhapatnam.

Prince, of course, watched Piedt closely last season in his role as Cape Cobras coach when the off-spinner claimed 54 first-class wickets that earned him a recall to the Proteas Test squad.

Piedt last played a Test against New Zealand at Centurion back in 2016, spending the past three years in the international wilderness.

Much was expected of the 29-year-old upon his return to Test cricket, but the he struggled with both his length and control during India’s first innings, conceding 107 runs in his 19 overs (economy 5.63) for the sole wicket of W. Saha.

Prince believes that a combination of nerves and the match situation was significant factors.

“He had good rhythm last year. He was able to keep the runs down in the first innings, pick up two/three and then in the second innings he could really attack with support of the surface when it was worn out,” Prince at the Cape Cobras 2019/20 season launch at Newlands.

“Yes, his figures are not looking great in the first innings, but what people need to understand is that you are bowling to arguably the best players of spin in the world on a day one flat pitch in India. It is going to be challenge for him. There was certainly nerves because he hasn't played a Test in a few years, but its early days. Let's see how he goes.”

In contrast, India’s chief off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed 7/145 to help dismiss South Africa for 431 – 71 runs shy of India’s 502/7 declared.

“Ashwin is a different type of bowler,” Prince said. “Piedtie is a more classic type of spin bowler that wants to pitch the ball outside the off-stump and beat the batsman through the gate. This could be challenging for him. 

"Piedtie's preferred line could put him under pressure in terms of run-rate. When you are bowling outside the off stump, you have to be accurate because if the length is not right you can free the arms through the off-side. I also think that they don’t have a lot of left-handers in their batting order, which would allow him to attack a little bit more.”

Piedt is part of a three-pronged Proteas spin attack being utilised in the first Test. The two left-arm spinners Keshav Maharaj and Senuran Muthusamy complete the trio.