Bulawayo: Pakistan reached 357-5 in reply to the hosts` 412 all out at the close of the third day of the one-off Test at Queens Sports Club on Saturday.
Zimbabwe missed a cluster of chances to pile the pressure on Pakistan, dropping five catches with a fielding fumble also costing them an easy run out.
The day was also marked by two batsmen passing the 1000 Test run landmark, with Mohammed Hafeez reaching 115 and scoring his third century and Umar Akmal, when he had reached 12.
However neither pair went very far afterwards.
Hafeez was out at lunch for 119, which included a six and 17 fours - a career highest.
Umar was out for 15 off the last ball of the day. He hit Greg Lamb hard onto a close fielder`s shoulder and Brendan Taylor took the rebound.
Azhar Ali moved his overnight 27 to 75 before giving a nick to Tatendo Taibu off Lamb. It was his ninth Test 50 and his third in succession.
Captain Misbah ul Haq made a fluent 66, remarkably his ninth half century in his last 11 innings. Predictably remaining to fight another day in partnership with the incoming Adnan Akmal is Younis Khan, who is on 61 after securing his 24th fifty.
Pakistan will be looking to these two to take them pas the Zimbabwe total on Sunday.
There have been two significant partnerships for the tourists - Hafeez and Ali put on 188 for the second wicket and Khan put on 100 with Ul Haq for the fourth.
For Zimbabwe it was a generally successful day in difficult flat-pitch circumstances, due largely to the spinners Raymond Price and Lamb.
Price was economy supreme, conceding 39 runs in 34 overs with 18 maidens but without any wickets. Lamb disposed of three tourists for 85.
However the pacemen Chrisopher Mpofu and Brian Vitori drew blanks in conceding 148 runs between them.
Pakistan will need another good partnership on Sunday to gain the advantage while Zimbabwe will need two more wickets to get into the tail and that could give them pole position.