Harare - Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara grabbed two wickets apiece but a stubborn partnership gave Zimbabwe a chance of preventing a Sri Lankan victory in the first Test in Harare on Wednesday.
After declaring on their overnight total of 247 for six to set Zimbabwe 412 for victory on the final day, Sri Lanka were well on their way to a win when Peter Moor was adjudged lbw to Kumara nine overs after lunch.
But Sean Williams and Graeme Cremer dug in to bat out the remainder of the session, seeing Zimbabwe to tea on 136 for six.
With clouds gathering in a similar manner to day four, when just 3.5 overs were possible in the final session, Zimbabwe's hopes of securing a draw in their 100th Test grew.
The hosts made a strong start to the final day, with openers Tino Mawoyo and Brian Chari batting out the first 16 overs before Chari was bowled by Kumara for 10.
Mawoyo put up further resistance in a stand of 37 with Hamilton Masakadza that lasted almost an hour, but his unfortunate dismissal for 37 sparked an ugly collapse from Zimbabwe.
Mawoyo was given out lbw to Perera by umpire Simon Fry but replays showed that the ball was comfortably missing leg stump.
Perera then trapped Craig Ervine lbw in his next over and in the following over Lakmal dismissed Masakadza for 20 and Malcolm Waller.
With another decision going against Zimbabwe after lunch, when Moor was given out lbw by umpire Ian Gould to a delivery that was bouncing over the stumps, the end was in sight for the hosts.
But Williams was joined by first-innings centurion Cremer and the pair saw out the remainder of the session.
Williams was unbeaten on 40 at the interval, while Cremer had 11.