Dubai: Younis Khan capped his return to Test cricket with a brilliant unbeaten century to help Pakistan draw the first Test against South Africa on the fifth and final day on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old right-hander -- playing his first Test since July 2009 because of an indefinite ban and differences with fellow players -- finished with 131 not out to take Pakistan to 343-3 in the first-ever Test at the Dubai Stadium.
Younis’s 17th Test hundred thwarted South Africa’s pace-cum-spin attack as they managed just one wicket in the three sessions to leave the fate of the two-Test series on the second match, starting in Abu Dhabi from November 20.
Younis was ably supported by Misbah-ul-Haq -- leading Pakistan in a Test for the first time -- who scored an unbeaten 76 during an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 186, a new record in all Pakistan-South Africa Tests.
The previous best of 119 was between Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla at Johannesburg in 2007.
With scant assistance from the pitch, South Africa also fell short on fielding as they dropped three crucial catches, two off Younis and one off Misbah hurting their chances of a win.
Younis brought up his 17th Test century with a towering six off spinner Johan Botha three overs before the tea break, his third against South Africa, as he continued to frustrate the bowlers who got no support from the fifth day pitch.
Younis, who hit four sixes and nine boundaries during his 230-ball knock, also added 82 runs for the third wicket with Azhar Ali who fell after making a sedate 63.
Misbah, who was also on a Test comeback after being dropped from the team for the six-Test tour of England earlier this year, hit eight fours and a six during his 185-ball knock.
Younis’s innings highlighted the importance of his position in a fragile Pakistan batting line-up, exposed during team’s 3-1 defeat against England on the tour ended in September.
With his effort Pakistan achieved their best total in the fourth innings of a Test, beating 341-9 they made against the West Indies at Port of Spain in 1988.
Resuming at 109-2, Pakistan had pinned their hopes on Younis, who also hit a brilliant 130 against South Africa to help Pakistan draw a Test in Lahore three years ago, and Ali.
Ali was bowled by spinner Paul Harris before lunch after hitting seven boundaries during his dour 150-ball knock.
Pakistan had a lucky escape in the fourth over of the day when Younis, on 16, edged paceman Dale Steyn, but wicket-keeper Mark Boucher failed to hold a regulation catch towards his right.
Younis also had luck at 73 when Kallis failed to hold a difficult chance in the slips, also off Steyn.
Misbah was also lucky when Hashim Amla dropped a bat-pad edge off Johan Botha at short-leg when the batsman had made eight -- chances which helped Pakistan avert defeat.