Bangladesh spinner Taijul Islam claimed 4-72 but Brendan Taylor and Peter Moor steadied Zimbabwe innings as the visitors reached 195-5 at tea break on the third day of second Test in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Taylor and Moor put up an unbeaten 64-run stand for the sixth wicket to raise their hope of avoiding the follow-on with the visitors still needing 128-run close to make Bangladesh bat again.
Taylor completed his ninth Test fifty as he was batting on 59 off 122 balls while Moor made 44 off 58 balls not out.
Taijul gave Bangladesh two breakthroughs after lunch break when he dismissed Sean Williams (11) and Sikandar Raza (0) in a quick succession to reduce the visitors to 131-5.
Earlier, spin bowling duo Taijul and Mehedi Hasan took two wickets in the opening session of day three as they reduced Zimbabwe to 100-3 in their first innings after they resumed at 25-1.
Zimbabwe’s Brain Chari struck 53 off 128 balls after being dropped twice on 19 and 53, but he was dismissed by Mehedi soon to give the host a boost at the break.
Chari and nightwatchman Donald Tiripano frustrated Bangladesh bowlers for nearly one hour of third day.
Taijul dismissed Tiripano for eight to break the stand but some fielding lapses denied Bangladesh greater success.
Zimbabwe made a slow start got the pace in the innings when Chari hit Taijul over mid-off for a six and he continued to play like this until he got a slight edge of his gloves to be dismissed at short-leg.
Mominul Haque took the catch which had to be confirmed by ultra-edge after Bangladesh reviewed the initial not out decision of field umpire.
Bangladesh declared their first innings at 522-7 in the second day after Mushfiqur Rahim struck unbeaten 219 runs while Mominul Haque made 161 runs.
Bangladesh were trailing 1-0 in the two-match Test series and they needed a victory to ensure leveling the series.