Shafique and Azhar firm in response to Australia’s 391

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Abdullah Shafique and Azhar Ali combined in an unbroken stand of 70 to launch Pakistan’s solid response to Australia’s first innings total of 391 on Tuesday in the deciding third and final test in Lahore.

Opener Shafique was unbeaten on 45 with number three Azhar 30 not out as the hosts reached 90-1 at the close of the second day’s play, trailing Australia by 301.The 22-year-old Shafique and the experienced Azhar, playing his 94th test but the first in his home city of Lahore, came together after the early loss of opener Imam-ul-Haq and showed a lot of patience to keep the probing Australian bowlers at bay.

The touring side posted a healthy total, helped by resolute half-centuries from Cameron Green and Alex Carey earlier on Tuesday.

All-rounder Green scored 79 and wicketkeeper Carey made 67 before Australia were all out at the stroke of the tea interval after opting to bat at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Fast bowlers Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi finished with four wickets apiece for the hosts with a brilliant display of reverse-swing bowling on a pitch offering variable bounce. —AFP

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