A 127-run partnership between Malcolm Waller and debutant Sikandar Raza helped Zimbabwe to a slender 32-run lead with three wickets in hand over Pakistan at the end of the second day of the first test in Harare.
Zimbabwe were 281 for seven in reply to Pakistan's first innings total of 249 all out.
Waller played with flourish as he scored 70 off 100 balls, hitting 14 fours, while Pakistan-born Raza notched 60 on his test debut.
The batsman, usually a one-day specialist but pressed into test service after Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor withdrew on the morning of the first day because of the birth of his first child, started cautiously but then opened his shoulders with some stylish stroke play for an impressive innings.
He only recently received Zimbabwe citizenship in order to play international cricket.
A watchful knock from all-rounder Elton Chigumbura added valuable runs late in the day as he scored 40 not out.
Off spinner Saeed Ajmal took four wickets for 77. It served to temper his disappointment at not reaching only his second test 50 at the start of the day.
Ajmal failed to add to his overnight score of 49 when he was bowled with the second ball of the morning.