Younis Khan hit a record-equalling century to guide Pakistan to 219-4 on the opening day of the first Test against Australia in Dubai on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old right hander scored 106 for his 25th century to help Pakistan counter the fiery pace of Mitchell Johnson (3-22) after Pakistan won the toss and decided to bat on a flat, grass-less Dubai stadium pitch.
At close, skipper Misbah-ul Haq was unbeaten on 34 and with him Asad Shafiq not out nine.
Batting on 99, Younis jumped out of his crease to hit off-spinner Nathan Lyon for a big six to reach the three-figure mark off 220 balls, equalling Pakistan’s record for most hundreds held by Inzamam-ul Haq.
Younis reached the mark in his 92nd Test as compared to Inzamam’s 120.
He also became the first Pakistani to score a hundred against all nine Test opponents, and overall the 12th batsmen in the world to reach the honour.
Younis said he felt proud at helping the team and achieve a rare honour.
“When you play with your heart, things go your way and I am proud to be the first Pakistani to score hundreds against all countries and to equal the great Inzamam’s record,” said Younis
Johnson, the best of Australia’s pace-cum-spin attack, removed Younis with the second delivery of the second new ball, trapping him leg-before with a sharper one.
In all Younis batted for five hours and 17 minutes and hit ten boundaries and a six.
Younis added 108 for the third wicket with Azhar Ali (53) and another valuable 83 with Misbah to steady the innings.
He played an innings of maturity and guile after Pakistan had lost both openers by the fourth over, with Mohammad Hafeez (nought) and Ahmed Shehzad (three) dismissed by Johnson and pace partner Peter Siddle.
It was Johnson who gave Australia the breakthrough as early as off the fifth ball of the match, trapping Hafeez leg-before with a superb yorker.
Shehzad was set up by Siddle as he exposed his leg-stump and was bowled.
Michael Clarke introduced debutant left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe in the sixth over, but Ali and Younis negotiated the spin better than pace.
Pakistan were 50-2 at lunch and continued to bat solidly as Ali was the first to reach his 16th half-century with a sweep boundary off Lyon.
Johnson returned for his third spell to remove Ali whose uppish drive was well caught at short cover by Alex Doolan. Ali hit six boundaries during his 216-minute stay.
Lyon and O’Keefe strived for spin but the pitch gave little assistance to them except for the final few overs, but Johnson stood out with his fire power and speed.
Both teams included two spinners in their squads, with Pakistan giving a Test debut to leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
Paceman Imran Khan was also included for his first Test.
Australia had all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and O’Keefe playing their first Tests.
The second and final Test will start in Abu Dhabi on October 30. -AFP