Zimbabwe suddenly seized the advantage in the second test against Pakistan in a nine-over spell Thursday to bowl the tourists out for 230, then built a 94-run lead by tea on the third day.
The Zimbabweans ripped through the tourists in 8.5 overs after lunch, taking 5-19 for a 64-run first innings lead. Test cricket's strugglers were 30-1 at the tea break in their second innings to add to their 294 batting first, and pushing toward a rare position of supremacy in the last of two tests, which the home team must win to save the series.
Zimbabwe has lost four of its last five test series and hasn't won a test against anyone other than Bangladesh since 2001, when it drew 1-1 in a two-match series with India.
However, despite Zimbabwe's promising progress on Thursday, Pakistan did win the first game of this two-match contest by 221 runs having fought back from a first-innings deficit.
The size of Pakistan's deficit in this test was still surprising, though, after it had reached lunch at 211-5, with top batsman Younis Khan unbeaten on 76 and well-set. However, Younis went for 77 straight after the break to a miscued shot to short midwicket, the first of two wickets in two balls for Tinashe Panyangara (3-43), and the Pakistan tail fell away rapidly to surrender control.
Left-arm seamer Brian Victori collected a career-best 5-61, his first five-wicket haul in tests, and Pakistan's last five batsmen scored just 17 runs between them as the tourists collapsed under the Zimbabwe seamers, who made good use of the second new ball.
Zimbabwe opted to open its second innings with offspinner Prosper Utseya, and the experiment didn't come off when he flicked a catch away to Asad Shafiq off Rahat Ali (1-17) for just 5 to leave the home team 13-1.
But Tino Mawoyo (15 not out) and Hamilton Masakadza (4 not out) took Zimbabwe to the end of the second session without any further damage and nearing a 100-run lead, and every run in the final session will push Zimbabwe further ahead and closer to a possible first test win over Pakistan in nearly 15 years.