Zimbabwe were unable to capitalise on their encouraging opening day in Bulawayo as Devendra Bishoo helped West Indies fight back to seize command of the first Test.
On Saturday, a home side strengthened by the returns of Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis restricted the Windies to 219 all out, despite Shai Hope's unbeaten 90, before closing on 19 without loss in reply.
However, Zimbabwe could only muster a paltry total of 159 in reply on day two, losing nine wickets for 68 following a promising start as Bishoo (5-79) took centre stage.
The Windies duly hammered home their advantage in the evening session, an unbroken partnership of 63 between Kraigg Brathwaite (38 not out) and Kyle Hope (32 not out) carrying them to 88-1 and a lead of 148 at stumps.
Bishoo's first ball of the day was hit for six by Hamilton Masakadza, Zimbabwe's top scorer with 42, but the leg-spinner was soon causing problems aplenty on a pitch that once again offered appreciable turn.
After Solomon Mire had fallen to a Kemar Roach slower ball for 27, Masakadza and Craig Ervine (39) moved the total on to 91-1.
Yet the departure of Masakadza, caught behind off Bishoo, triggered an alarming collapse, with none of the remaining batsmen passing 12.
Although Bishoo, who also accounted for Ervine, was the chief destroyer, there were valuable contributions from West Indies' seamers. Skipper Jason Holder and Roach picked up two scalps apiece while keeping things tight and the similarly economical Shannon Gabriel rounded things off with the wicket of Christopher Mpofu.
Kieran Powell made just 17 in the Windies' second innings before being bowled in Graeme Cremer's first over, but there was a costly missed opportunity two balls later when Hope was put down at short-leg.
Hope then survived a review for lbw on five and was able to make it through to stumps alongside the patient Brathwaite, leaving Zimbabwe firmly on the back foot.