Second test: Pakistan in trouble after Aussie declaration

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Australia's Usman Khawaja bats against Pakistan on the third day of their second cricket test in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Australia grabbed an early wicket to have Pakistan under pressure to save the second Test after a bold declaration on the final day in Melbourne on Friday.

Skipper Steve Smith revived hopes of achieving a result in the rain-disrupted Test with a declaration shortly before lunch.

He called a halt to a massive first innings at 624 for eight — remaining unbeaten on 165 off 246 balls — giving his fast bowlers the use of the new ball just before the interval.

Read more: Azhar Ali hit in head by Matthew Wade pull shot

The tactic paid immediate dividends with Josh Hazlewood bowling Sami Aslam off a bottom edge for two in the second over of the innings.

At lunch, Pakistan were six for one with first-innings double-centurion Azhar Ali on one and Babar Azam on three.

The decision to declare the Australian first innings was accelerated by a big-hitting knock of 84 off 91 balls from fast bowler Mitchell Starc.

Starc clubbed seven sixes, the most in an innings in a Melbourne Test, and was particularly severe on Yasir Shah, belting the leg-spinner for five sixes.

He reached his eighth Test half-century and second fifty this season off 69 balls before he was given a reprieve on 51.

Starc skied spinner Azhar Ali to long-off where Sohail Khan made a hash of the catch, fumbling the two-handed chance.

He took to Azhar hoicking him for successive sixes to race to 70.

Starc hit another towering six off Yasir before he was finally out caught by Asad Shafiq at backwards square leg.

His seven sixes surpassed the record in an innings in a Melbourne Test held by Andrew Symonds with six in his 72 against South Africa in 2005.

Starc put on 154 runs for the seventh wicket with Smith off 172 balls and upon Nathan Lyon’s dismissal, caught and bowled by Yasir for 12, Smith declared the innings and raced from the ground.

It was Smith’s 17th Test century and fourth for the year and he will finish 2016 with 1,079 runs at 71.93. Australia lead the three-Test series 1-0 after beating Pakistan by 39 runs in the Gabba Test.