A busy, unbroken stand of 107 runs between Sikandar Raza and Malcom Waller helped Zimbabwe take control of the ongoing Test against Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium on Sunday.
At Stumps on Day Three, Zimbabwe were 252-6, thus stretching their lead to 262 runs.
Earlier Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath wiped out the top order and the hosts threatened to skittle the visitors out.
After being 23-4 in the beginning of their second innings, Raza-who is nearing a century, first stitched a 86-run stand with Peter Moor (40) and then shared a crucial unbroken stand with Waller (57*) to not only bring his team out of hot waters but also give them a serious chance of winning the game.
At the end of day's play, Raza, who battled the heat and cramps to keep his side's troubles away, was unbeaten at 97.
His 158-ball inning was studded with 7 fours and a six.
Earlier, in the first session, Sri Lanka got bowled out 346 runs in their first innings. However, left-arm spinner Herath knocked out Zimbabwe's top order in his first four overs, before Perera also struck. And at one stage, Sri Lanka had had them by the collar, at 59-5.
However, Raza, Waller and Moor and batted superbly to help their side hold aces in the match.
All this followed after Zimbabwe's lead spinner Graeme Cremer, who became the first captain from his nation to take a five-wicket haul, took two of the last three Sri Lanka wickets in the morning, and had helped the visitors earn a 10-run first innings lead.