An attacking half-century by West Indies captain Darren Sammy inspired his team to 265 for seven in reply to Zimbabwe's first innings total of 211 here on the second day of the first Test on Wednesday.
The West Indies lead by 54 runs with three wickets in hand.
Sammy dominated a 106-run seventh-wicket partnership with Dinesh Ramdin, the wicket-keeper batsman contributing an unbeaten 44 on his 28th birthday.
Sammy came to the crease shortly after lunch when Shivnarine Chanderpaul became Kyle Jarvis' fourth wicket of the innings to reduce the home side to 151 for six.
The West Indies captain launched into the tourists' bowlers, blazing his way to 73 off 69 balls with eight fours and four sixes before being bowled off the inside-edge by part-time bowler Hamilton Masakadza just before the break.
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor persisted with Graeme Cremer, despite the leg-spinner being the recipient of a severe hammering from Sammy, and opted to give experienced and economical left-arm spinner Ray Price just a handful of overs in the midst of the mid-afternoon assault.
Yet it was Masakadza who achieved the breakthrough, just as he had done before lunch when he removed the dangerous Marlon Samuels for 51.
Samuels had been at his aggressive best in the first session after the hosts lost Darren Bravo in the first hour, giving Jarvis his third wicket.
However Samuels joined fellow-Jamaican Chris Gayle and the pair proceeded to accelerate the scoring with a succession of boundaries, forcing Taylor to ring the changes in pursuit of a breakthrough.
It eventually came with the first delivery after the drinks break, a lifting delivery from Tendai Chatara taking the glove of Gayle (40) and giving the debutant seamer his first test wicket via a simple catch at second slip by Taylor.
But Samuels continued to flow along effortlessly, dominating a 63-run partnership with Chanderpaul.
He brought up his 18th Test half-century just before the interval but perished in the last over before the break, driving loosely at Masakadza to be caught behind.