Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Test specialists Azhar Ali and Younis Khan led the fightback by hitting half centuries as Pakistan reached 125-3 at tea on the opening day of the first test against Australia on Wednesday.
Younis proved his point that selectors may have erred in dropping him from the one-day team that lost 3-0 against Australia by remaining unbeaten on 52. Ali, dropped on 22, made a sedate 53 off 167 balls, including six fours, before playing a loose drive off Mitchell Johnson to give Australia its only wicket in the afternoon session.
Johnson and Peter Siddle had cut Pakistan to 7-2 after captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and elected to bat before Younis and Ali defied the Australians for nearly 3-1/2 hours and put on 108 runs.
Johnson snared recalled Mohammad Hafeez leg before wicket off his third delivery through a toe crushing yorker for zero. Ahmed Shehzad was then brilliantly setup by Siddle before he had him clean bowled round his legs as both bowlers bowled with lot of aggression in their miserly bowled spells in the first session.
Ali and Younis struggled early, but somehow managed to hang in and avoid further damage by adding 43 runs for the third wicket stand. Younis, who had criticized selectors for dropping him for the one-day series against Australia, took 13 deliveries to score his first run and was also hit on the left bicep when he tried to leave Johnson's short pitched delivery.
Ali was fortunate to escape just before lunch when Chris Rodgers dropped a low two-handed catch at point which could have given Johnson his second wicket.
Australia captain Michael Clarke kept on the pressure when he introduced debutante spinner Steve O'Keefe as early as the seventh over of the innings while another debutant Mitchell Marsh also conceded just three runs in his four overs.
Mitchell Marsh is the second son of former test opener Geoff Marsh to play test cricket for Australia. His older brother, Shaun, made his debut in 2011.
Pakistan without its suspended offspinner Saeed Ajmal awarded test caps to legspinner Yasir Shah and fast bowler Imran Khan.