Ashwell Prince was delighted to see his captain Graeme Smith back on the field during the first day of the tour match against Middlesex at Uxbridge.
Smith was playing for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury while on Indian Premier League duty with the Rajasthan Royals.
The left-handed opener spent more than two hours at the crease making 35, an innings that helped set the platform for centuries later in the day from Hashim Amla and Prince.
Amla's contribution to South Africa's total of 339-4 was 161, while Prince finished the opening day of three unbeaten on 104.
"He (Smith) batted for more than two hours out there, and the ball did go around a little bit this morning," explained Prince.
"He hasn't batted for a while. But those two hours - and some more in the second innings, we hope - I'm sure that will be enough time in terms of preparation for the Test.
"It's much better to get time in the middle than in the nets - and I'm sure he'd like to have another go in the second innings."
Prince is mindful of Smith's need to re-tune his tempo to the longer form of the game, after his most recent Twenty20 adventure on the subcontinent.
"He consciously took his time," Prince added.
"He probably could have been a bit more aggressive. But I think he probably opted to play the way he did, because he hasn't had much time in the middle - and the last time he was batting it was in Twenty20.
"He wanted time at the crease and to get used to playing cricket with a red ball, the IPL being the last time he batted."
As for his own performance - and that of Amla - Prince reported that much of the hard work was done before lunch.
"It seemed like it was going around a bit early on with the new ball," he said.
"But it's quite a good pitch, and in the afternoon it was a little bit easier - and we took advantage."
The first Test of South Africa's four-match series with England starts at Lord's on July 10.