We're 'sore but happy' - Iain O'Brien
Iain O'Brien has said he and the rest of New Zealand's bowling attack are "pretty sore but very happy" a day after dismissing Pakistan during a tense run-chase in Dunedin to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.
New Zealand went into the first match with a four-man bowling attack and, because part-timer Grant Elliott was unable to bowl because of a niggle, Shane Bond, Chris Martin, O'Brien and Daniel Vettori had to bear the increased workload.
O'Brien's performance was ordinary for the majority of the game. He had the tough job of bowling into the wind and, after a testing first spell in Pakistan's first innings, he struggled to contain the batsmen and conceded 98 runs in 23 wicket-less overs. In the second, O'Brien toiled for 16 overs for figures of 52 for 1 before his day got worse.
In the final session on the fifth day, an airy but fierce drive from Umar Akmal struck him on his finger during his follow through and dislocated it. O'Brien was in visible pain - Daniel Vettori said he saw his bowler's eyes well up - but he was ready to bowl after getting the digit straightened by the physio.
"There was no way Dan was getting the ball out of my hand at that stage," O'Brien told PA Sport. "I wanted to bowl. I wanted to be part of a Test win and to do something to change the game."
Fighting pain, O'Brien ran in and trapped Kamran Akmal lbw - a moment that Vettori said was when New Zealand started to believe they were going to win - before dismissing Umar Gul as well. He finished with figures of 3 for 63 and later said he was under pressure going into the final innings of the match.
"If I didn't come out and bowl yesterday, well that could have been me done for a while, if not for a long time," O'Brien said. "To go out and bowl well yesterday and play a part in a Test win is pretty good. It makes me feel better about my job and role in the team." O'Brien will have his finger assessed on Monday.
O'Brien, however, was not the only one bowling in discomfort on Saturday. Bond, who was making his Test comeback, had an injured big toe and yet he finished with eight wickets, a performance that won him the Man-of-the-Match award. Bond said his toe was sore but it would be okay.