December 29, 2016 / 4:27 AM / a year ago

Cricket-Australia declare with 181-run lead

(Updates at end of innings)

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc hammered Pakistan’s bowlers before the Australian captain declared Australia’s first innings closed at 624 for eight before lunch, with a lead of 181 runs on the fifth day of the second test in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Australia’s bowlers will have 68 overs to try to dismiss Pakistan in their second innings and wrap up the three-match series with a game to spare.

Tail-ender Starc blasted seven sixes, a record at the MCG, before he was caught by Asad Shafiq for 84 from 91 balls, pulling Sohail Khan to square leg.

Nathan Lyon was out for 12, skying a return catch to bowler Yasir Shah and skipper Smith promptly declared, leaving the ground unbeaten on 165.

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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