Ali's unbeaten 146 guided Pakistan to 279-1 at close on the opening day of the first Test -- just the second day-night match in Test cricket's 140-year history -- after Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and opted to bat on a flat Dubai stadium pitch.
Asad Shafiq was the other not out batsman with 33.
Cricket saw the innovation of day-night Tests with a pink ball for the first time when Australia played New Zealand at Adelaide in November last year, attempting to reverse the trend of dwindling Test crowds.
Australia won the low-scoring affair on the third day by a narrow three-wicket margin, with Australian wicket-keeper Peter Nevill's 66 the top individual score.
Ali bettered that and put his name in the records book with a 366-minute stay at the crease, hitting 14 boundaries, but unlike Adelaide where the attendance was 123,000 over three days, only 500-odd people passed through the gates in Dubai.
Despite the empty stands Ali and Sami Aslam, who fell for 90, started brightly with an imperious 215-run stand for the opening wicket.
Ali drove off-spinner Roston Chase to mid-off for his ninth boundary to complete his 11th Test century -- his second in three matches -- before pumping the air in jubiliation.