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Cricket - Shafiq, Azam stretch Pakistan lead past 350

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Cricket - Shafiq, Azam stretch Pakistan lead past 350

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(Reuters) - Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam provided stability in the middle order after Pakistan lost a couple of early wickets as the hosts stretched their lead to 369 at lunch on day three of the second and final test against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

The pair had added 72 runs for the fifth wicket at the break to ensure Pakistan remain in control on 232 for four in their second innings.

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Resuming the day on 144-2, Pakistan lost the wicket of Haris Sohail (17) when he was stumped by visiting captain Tim Paine off a tossed up delivery from off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

Sohail's overnight partner Azhar Ali (64) was then run out in a bizarre fashion when he edged a Peter Siddle delivery fine of gully and walked up the pitch for a chat with partner Shafiq, thinking the ball was running safely to the boundary.

Mitchell Starc, who is nursing a tight hamstring, picked up the ball that had ground to a halt just inside the rope before sending a throw for wicketkeeper Paine to whip off the bails with both batsman standing idly in the middle of the strip.

Shafiq grafted his way to 42, while Azam smashed Lyon for two sixes on his way to 34 at lunch.

Australia were dismissed for 145 on day two, handing Pakistan a 137-run first innings advantage.

Pakistan will hope to add to their already big lead in the afternoon as they look to deny Australia a first series win in Asia since 2011 after Paine's side fought hard to grind out a draw in the first test.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien)

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