Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel took two wickets as Zimbabwe reached 92 for three at lunch on the opening day of the second and final test against the West Indies at Windsor Park here on Wednesday.
Gabriel removed both openers in his first two overs and hometown hero Shane Shillingford enjoyed success almost immediately as well with the Zimbabweans faltering after a deceptively bright start.
Captain Brendan Taylor (25 not out) and Craig Ervine (5 not out) will resume after the interval, needing a substantial partnership to give their team any chance of a formidable first innings total on a pitch noticeably lacking in pace and bounce.
Vusi Sibanda lit up the morning with a succession of attacking shots, taking three boundaries in a row off Kemar Roach after West Indies captain Darren Sammy chose to field first on winning the toss.
He and Tino Mawoyo put on 42 at better than a run-a-minute but the introduction of Gabriel changed the complexion of the proceedings completely.
Mawoyo was bowled for eight, having his off-stump knocked back when he offered no shot to a delivery angled into him.
With just one more run added, Sibanda also made a gift of his wicket to Gabriel when on 32, hitting a full-toss low to Roach who held a good catch at mid-on.
Worse was to follow for Zimbabwe when Shillingford was introduced into the attack, the off-spinner bowling Hamilton Masakadza for 14 off the last delivery of his first over with his trademark "doosra" to reduce the visitors to 64 for three.
Taylor and Ervine stemmed the tide up to the interval but were facing an onerous task on the resumption given the lack of experience and depth in Zimbabwe's batting line-up.