DUBAI  - Younus Khan hit a record-equalling 25th Test century to guide Pakistan to 219-4 on the opening day of the first Test against Australia at Dubai International Cricket Stadium Saturday.

The 36-year-old right hander scored 106 after Pakistan won the toss and decided to bat on a flat, grass-less pitch which is supposed to be deteriorated with the due course of time and spin is likely to rule in coming days.

Younus equalled Pakistan's record for most hundreds held by Inzamam-ul Haq, but reached the mark in his 92nd Test compared to Inzamam's 120. He also made history by becoming the first Pakistan player to score a hundred against all nine Test nations and the 12th batsmen in the world to achieve the feat. At close, skipper Misbah-ul Haq was unbeaten on 34 and with him Asad Shafiq not out on nine.

Though the spin is supposed to rule the Test, it was blistering deliveries of Mitchel Johnson which stole the show on day one. Johnson struck with the fifth delivery of the match to get an lbw decision of Muhammad Hafiz. Johnson’s searing inswinging yorker at 144 kph struck full on Hafeez’ toe. He had to play around his front pad, head falling over awfully. He seemed right in line with all three stumps but despite that went for a review and wasted one. Ahmed Shehzad hardly managed much better, shuffling across his stumps to Peter Siddle only to be bowled round his legs for three, leaving the nominal hosts seven for two.

Australian captain Michael Clarke used Johnson in short spells and his brutal pace and dangerous swing keeps Pakistan batsmen on their toes and Johnson finished the day with figures of 3-22.

But it was Younus and Azhar Ali who helped Pakistan to counter Johnson’s attack and keep the things in the balance, which otherwise may be an Aussie day. Without either man's efforts, the other side might have taken a stranglehold on proceedings at Sport City, but as it was honours lay largely even. Younus hit 106 before becoming Johnson's third victim of the day.

After the early departure of openers, Azhar and Younus then placed the brakes on, restoring quiet order to the innings to reach 50-2 at lunch. Azhar offered a chance on 22 to Johnson when he played a lazy drive off a ball on off but did not let that deter him once Chris Rogers failed to gather.

At one stage both Australian newcomers Mitchell Marsh and Steve O’Keefe were bowling in tandem, though they were met with the same steady focus as the established men in the touring attack.

Azhar was first to his half-century, sweeping his 141st delivery for his sixth four, and with the total passing the 100 mark in the 47th over, Younus briefly threatened to inject some momentum with commanding back-to-back boundaries off Lyon.

Younus' fifty came from his 136th ball, but he lost Ali soon after - the 108-run stand ended with a soft catch to short cover off the bowling of Johnson. Misbah-ul-Haq saw it to tea with minimal fuss, with his side on 123-3.

Australia laboured away looking for another breakthrough as the experienced batting pair stood firm, Younus mercilessly ticking over until reaching 99. Then, unexpectedly, he ushered in his landmark ton by stepping down the track to Lyon and launching him into the stands for six.

Six balls later he was gone, Johnson returning with the new ball and striking at just the second attempt. Some extra pace and handy movement off the hard ball was enough to win another lbw verdict and end a wonderfully composed innings. There was no further damage done, though, Misbah and Shafiq playing successfully for the close.

Both sides handed out two debuts, Pakistan blooding paceman Imran Khan and leg-spinner Yasir Shah, while Baggy Greens were handed to Steve O'Keefe and Mitch Marsh - the latter receiving his from his decorated father Geoff.

Scoreboard

PAKISTAN IST INNINGS:

Ahmed Shehzad b Siddle    3

Mohammad Hafeez lbw b Johnson    0

Azhar Ali c Doolan b Johnson    53

Younis Khan lbw b Johnson    106

Misbah-ul Haq not out    34

Asad Shafiq not out    9

Extras: (b2, lb12)    14

Total: (4 wkts; 90 overs)    219

FOW: 1-1, 2-7, 3-115, 4-198

BOWLING: Johnson 20-13-22-3, Siddle 17-8-27-1, O'Keefe 15-2-49-0, Marsh 11-4-18-0, Lyon 24-2-78-0, Smith 3-0-11-0

TOSS: Pakistan

UMPIRES: Richard Kettleborough (ENG) and Marais Erasmus (RSA)

TV UMPIRE: Nigel Llong (ENG)

MATCH REFEREE: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)