Zimbabwe opened up a 175-run lead over Bangladesh with six second innings wickets remaining on Saturday, but they were left to rue a late collapse on the third day of the one-off Test at the Harare Sports Club.
After dismissing the tourists for 287 - and a first innings lead of 83 - Zimbabwe were 69 without loss before Bangladesh captured four quick wickets for the addition of just 23 more runs as the home side finished on 92 for four at stumps.
Openers Tinotenda Mawoyo (35) and Vusi Sibanda (38) looked in good form before Sibanda, who made 78 in the first innings, fell to a catch at midwicket by substitute fielder Nasir Hossain off Rubel Hossain.
Ten runs later, Mawoyo was clean-bowled by Robiul Islam.
First innings centurion Hamilton Mazakadza then offered a feeble shot to Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hassan and was caught and bowled for five while night watchman Ray Price was leg before to Abdur Razzak, making only four runs.
Captain Brendan Taylor (five) and former skipper Tatenda Taibu (0) were the not out batsmen.
At the start of the day, Bangladesh resumed on 107 for three in their first innings with Mohammad Ashraful moving on from his overnight 34 to 73 with captain Shakib Al Hassan scoring 68.
Test debutant Brian Vitori, a left-armer with some pace and aggression, led the Zimbabwe attack well and he took four wickets for 66. Veteran spinner Ray Price also had some success with two for only 34.
Bangladesh coach Stuart Law praised the application of his batsmen.
“The big thing for us is that we are playing in a different part of the world that we don’t play in that often and that requires a different technique,” the Australian told cricinfo.com.
“With a bit more grass on the wicket, batsmen need to have sharp footwork and some of our left-handers haven’t had that.”
Zimbabwe coach Alan Butcher, meanwhile, was delighted his team were still in the box seat in a match that marks a return to Test cricket after a self-imposed six-year exile.
“There wouldn’t have been many people who would have thought that I could sit here being disappointed about some aspects in what has been a good performance so far,” Butcher said.
“They didn’t expect us to make the transition so fast. But now that that we’ve done that, we’ve got greedy and we want to do more.”