Ireland seamer Trent Johnston claimed three wickets but his side’s progress was slowed by Zimbabwe’s top order on day two of their Intercontinental Cup encounter at Harare Sports Club.
The hosts reached the close on 175 for three, with left-hander Sean Williams unbeaten on 88 as they replied to Ireland’s first innings total of 465.
Johnston took the crucial early wicket of Stuart Matsikenyeri when he pinned him lbw for just two, but Williams and Steve Marillier then combined in a 100-run stand to begin Zimbabwe’s defiance.
Johnston ended that when he had Marillier caught by Gary Wilson and then struck soon after to remove Vusi Sibanda (four).
But Williams remained to move to within sight of his century and had combined in an unbeaten 65-run stand with Keith Dabengwa to steel his side’s response.
Earlier, Andrew White quickly chalked up his century, after resuming on 97, but did little more before he was bowled by Shingirai Masakadza for 102.
At that point Ireland were 353 for seven but the defending champions’ tail added valuable runs led by John Mooney’s patient 87 before he became Masakadaza’s fifth victim.