Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 1st Test, Galle, 2nd day June 23, 2012

We were better today - Ajmal

Offspinner Saeed Ajmal has said that Pakistan's bowlers had a lot of positives to take from the second day of the Galle Test, after a poor opening day. Sri Lanka were 300 for 2 at stumps on day one but Pakistan, led by Ajmal's five-wicket haul, dismissed them for 472.

Ajmal was the only bowler who looked like troubling the batting order at the start. He took the first five wickets to fall and completed his sixth five-for. Ajmal removed Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews off successive deliveries to leave Sri Lanka on 335 for 5, but no one could not dislodge Kumar Sangakkara, who remained unbeaten on 199.

"They [Sri Lanka] batted very well but we didn't bowl badly," Ajmal said after the second day. "The bowlers had an off day yesterday but we bowled better today. The wicket was slow but at the end of the day our batting flopped."

Pakistan's batting was a let down. After being on the field for close to two hot days, their top order imploded, leaving them on 48 for 5, 225 runs away from avoiding the follow-on. Despite Pakistan's position, Ajmal backed the batsmen to stage a recovery and give the bowlers a second chance.

"We need to get some runs on the board and we need to come back through our bowling because our bowling over the last two years has been good," Ajmal said. "I think the pitch will get slower, because the grass has been shaved off."

Pakistan are without their regular captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who is serving a one-match ban for a slow over rate, and Ajmal said he had been missed. "Misbah is our regular captain and someone who can hold the batting together," he said. "If he is playing, we wont have to rely on inexperienced players handling pressure in the middle. Our batsmen are working really hard at practice, but I cannot say why we're struggling."

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo