Zimbabwe were 254 for four – and opener Tino Mawoyo unbeaten on 82 – at stumps on the first day of the one-off test against Pakistan at Queens Sports Club on Thursday.
Middle order batsman Craig Ervine, who had struggled for runs prior to this match, was also resolute on 38 when the players left the field.
Earlier, Zimbabwe reached 162-3 at tea after Pakistan had won the toss and elected to field.
Mawoyo batted patiently and looked undisturbed for most of his 180 balls, smashing five boundaries for 54.
Playing in his second test, Mawoyo and fellow opener Vusi Sibanda gave Zimbabwe a solid start, with a 71-run stand for the first wicket before Sibanda, who scored 45 in an innings dominated by superb pull shots, was stumped by wicketkeeper Adnan Ajmal off spinner Saeed Ajmal four overs before the lunch break.
Offspinner Saeed claimed all three wickets for Pakistan to slow down the host’s momentum on a spin-friendly pitch.
Saeed removed Hamilton Masakadza for 11 after the Zimbabwean mistimed a straight delivery to be clean bowled.
Captain Brendan Taylor was then trapped plumb in front to leave Zimbabwe on 111-3 and feed Pakistan some brief hope. Mawoyo and former captain Tatenda Taibu, 31 not out, were undeterred, setting about on a 51-run partnership for the fourth wicket to repair Zimbabwe’s innings.
Zimbabwe: V Sibanda, TMK Mawoyo, H Masakadza, BRM Taylor (capt), T Taibu (wk), CR Ervine, GA Lamb, RW Price, BV Vitori, KM Jarvis, CB Mpofu
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal (wk), Junaid Khan, Sohail Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Aizaz Cheema