An unbeaten half century from Younis Khan steadied the ship for Pakistan as they began their reply to Zimbabwe's first-innings total of 294 on day two of the second Test in Harare.
The hosts began the day on 237-8, with Tendai Chatara and Brian Vitori combining for a last-wicket stand of 46 to stretch their first-innings total to a respectable figure, before Abdur Rehman (3-47) wrapped up the innings. Junaid Khan finished with 4-67.
Khurram Manzoor opened Pakistan's reply alongside Mohammad Hafeez and struck a positive 51 before being run out by Elton Chigumbura as Pakistan reached 163-3 at stumps, 131 runs behind with seven wickets intact.
After a minor wobble when Hafeez was dismissed for 22, caught by Hamilton Masakadza off the bowling of Vitori, and Azhar Ali was sent back to the pavilion for just seven, Younis (52 not out) brought some stability with Manzoor.
When Manzoor was dismissed with the total on 96, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq (27no) strode to the crease to see out the day with Younis in a fourth-wicket partnership which had moved to 67 by the close.
Zimbabwe's attack did well to contain the experienced pair with a disciplined bowling performance but they were unable to replicate the bite found by Junaid on Tuesday morning.
As a result, Manzoor, who scored nine boundaries in his innings in his comeback series, was able to punish them, with Younus going on to pick up the mantle with six fours of his own in a 114-ball half century.
By stumps, Younis had become the fourth Pakistan batsman to pass 7,000 Test runs but scoring was not easy on a pitch where the batsmen were never quite in, although the deterioration of the surface predicted by many has not yet been evident.