DHAKA - "Waah [Wow] Saeed Ajmal ," cries out someone from near the nets, just as Ahmed Shehzad misreads the offspinner's length outside off stump. It is a stumping chance, although there isn't a wicketkeeper in position. Ajmal likes it, as there haven't been many deliveries going past the batsman in the net session.

In the sapping early afternoon humidity at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Ajmal prefers the sleeveless Pakistan practice jersey unlike the two matches before where he preferred the full-sleeve one. He comes back to the top of his bowling mark and waits for his turn to bowl. He bounds in, this part similar to the pre-August 2014 Ajmal, and gathers his arms near the popping crease but everything else from that point is altered.

Ajmal's leap, in which his arm used to roll around his ears once before his shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers would combine into a whip to flight or fire it in, is missing. Instead his new jump - less a jump and more an extra step - takes him to his trigger position from which he jerks his bowling arm wide, away from his body.

Here is the key difference, the area which was resurrected after he was banned in September last year, the part of his action he has honed for more than six months. He now has an action where the arm slings and delivers the offbreak. It means the loop that he generated from the top of his shoulder is missing. The delivery that beat Shehzad's charge looked close to a doosra but it was released from a trajectory from where the shoulder, elbow and wrist couldn't possibly combine for that delivery. He hadn't delivered one in the two ODIs too.

After the net session, Pakistan's spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed said that he was impressed by Ajmal showing the character to come back into international cricketer, but that he would need to build on his confidence in the third ODI. "I will tell you one thing: he is a tough cookie," Mushtaq said. "He came out when people thought he cannot make it. Suddenly he had to change his action with which he has been bowling for last 20 years. Credit goes to all the people who worked with him in the National Cricket Academy, the analysts and Saqlain Mushtaq. He has come out here with good temperament. He was not successful but I know he is confident to bowl well in the upcoming match."

Mushtaq was satisfied with the pace Ajmal has used in the two matches, and expected him to regain a bit more confidence after a better show in the second ODI. "Time can tell. He is confident. His variation is not there yet. He is working hard in the nets. He is discussing a few things. Hopefully the lack of confidence in the last two games will go away if he can pick three wickets in one over. I am quite happy with his pace. It is not easy for the guy to come back and play international cricket. Obviously the Bangladesh batsmen are good against spinners. I am quite happy with Saeed Ajmal ."

The difference in Ajmal's action has had a telling effect on his performance in the first two matches of the ODI series. Ajmal has conceded 123 runs in 19.1 overs, taking only the wicket of Mahmudullah in the second game. He found a bit of turn on the Mirpur pitch but in both games there was not much spin on offer. Devoid of orthodox turn and variations, Ajmal has had to rely much on changes of pace, and he has noticeably bowled slower in the nets, something he also did in the second game.

Coach Waqar Younis had said there wouldn't be any pressure on Ajmal, no expectations to bowl the way he used to bowl before being reported for the suspect action. Azhar Ali brought him into the attack just after the opening Powerplay had been completed. Ajmal's new action was in full view for the first time. He hit Soumya Sarkar's front pad with one pushed down middle and leg. Third ball, he hit Tamim Iqbal's pads, thought about a review but did not take one. Replays showed it would have clipped leg stump. There was a surer appeal in his fourth over but the ball had touched Tamim's glove on way to his front pad. Ajmal had offered promise, despite the slingy arm offering little turn.

Things, however, started to unravel when he was brought back in the 33rd over. In the following six overs, Tamim and Mushfiqur Rahim took him apart with hits through the leg side and tickled boundaries. Mushfiqur took 31 off just 12 balls from Ajmal while Tamim took 37 off 31. Ajmal struggled more against the right-handers, his new arm angle keeping the ball on middle and leg. Mushfiqur latched on to anything that allowed him to hit his favourite slog-sweep.

Mushfiqur didn't attack Ajmal as much in the second game, and it was a much improved performance as the offspinner relied heavily on changing his pace and was considerably slower. Ruwan Kalpage, the Bangladesh spin coach, said that Ajmal has a lot to prove with the reworked action. "He has gone through a tough time in the last three-four months," Kalpage said. "He has done some remedy as well which he has to prove in front of the TV, media and in the international game. So he has got to prove a lot. He has performed really well in the past. He will always be under pressure at the moment. It will be really tough for him but all depends on the individual, how you are going to cope up at the international level."