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Cricket-Piedt spins ‘dream-come-true’ comeback against India

South Africa off-spinner Dane Piedt says it was a “dream come true” for him to claim four wickets against India on his test return after eight months out with a career-threatening injury.

One of the three new faces in the South African squad chasing a pride-salvaging win in a series already lost, Piedt claimed 4-101 to help restrict India to 231-7 on the opening day of the fourth and final test.

“It was quite a tough road. Guys came in, they did well… This was really, really tough on me emotionally and physically. Just to get back today, taking four wickets is really a dream come true for me,” the 25-year-old told reporters.

The spinner took eight wickets against Zimbabwe in his test debut to claim the man-of-the-match award but found his career at a crossroads after hurting his shoulder during the Champions Trophy last year.

“I walked into (the surgeon’s) office and he said ‘it either goes your way, or it goes the way that you won’t be able to bowl anymore’. So that hit me quite hard.”

The Cape Cobras spinner shouldered most of South Africa’s bowling burden at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium on Thursday, sending down 34 of the 84 overs bowled.

None of his team mates bowled more than 17 overs but Piedt denied that he was overused.

“If (captain) Hashim (Amla) calls, you can’t really say no. I’m not going to turn down the option to bowl as I love bowling.

“I was out for eight months with a shoulder injury and I’ll take this opportunity to bowl as much as I can.

“The more I compete with the batsmen and the more overs I get to bowl, it will end up with me taking wickets for the team.”

India rolled out rank turners in Mohali and Nagpur and few are surprised that the five leading wicket-takers in the series are all spinners.

Piedt said he would have loved to play in the series earlier, pitting his wits against Indian batsmen known for their prowess against spin bowling.

“Obviously wickets in the series were turning quite a bit, so it would have been nice to play. But it’s my time now and I will try to make use of the surface now,” he said.

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