| Tatenda Taibu hits one as Dinesh Karthik and Rahul Dravid look on during the first day of the first Test in Bulawayo on Tuesday. (AFP)
Bulawayo: Tatenda Taibu played a captainís knock as a spirited Zimbabwe frustrated India by batting out the opening day of the first cricket Test here on Tuesday.
Taibu anchored the Zimbabwe innings with an unbeaten 61 and shared two vital partnerships in the middle and lower order to help his side reach a respectable 265 for seven at close on Day I.
Keith Dabengwa hit a sparkling unbeaten 35 that contained a disdainful pull of Anil Kumble to over mid-wicket as he featured in an enterprising partnership with his skipper Taibu.
The unbroken eighth-wicket stand between Dabengwa and Taibu was already worth 55 runs and pulled the hosts out of a precarious 210 for seven at one stage.
Zaheer Khan was the pick of the Indian bowlers with three for 68 while Irfan Pathan and Kumble picked two wickets apiece.
It was a commendable batting performance by Zimbabwe who were steamrolled in their two Tests by New Zealand earlier in the season.
Even though the hosts have made their runs on a largely benign wicket, India would be frustrated by the profusion of no-balls and rather tardy work in the field, topped by an eminently forgettable day for wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.
Taibu shared two major stands of 74 and 69 with Dion Ebrahim (24) and Heath Streak (27) for the third and fifth wicket.
The best bowler on view was Harbhajan Singh who searched in vain through his overs to claim the one wicket, which would have topped his 200th scalp in his 46th Test.
Just before Ebrahim was out, he could have been out to Harbhajan but Karthik fumbled with an easy stumping.
Zimbabwe chose to bat first on the morning and after nine uneventful overs, Zaheer accounted for opener Brendon Taylor (13) via a catch to forward short leg after the batsmen attempted a flick off the backfoot.
Zaheer had another success when Hamilton Masakdza (14) tried to get inside the line of a rising delivery on the leg-stump but still gloved it wicketkeeper Karthik behind the stumps.
Zimbabwe, 75 for two at lunch, enjoyed their most dominant batting of the day through Duffin and Ebrahim who drove with elan down the ground before Irfan Pathan made his presence felt in his second spell of the day.
Pathan, from the other end, claimed the two troublesome batsmen in successive overs when he first won a leg before shout against Duffin and then accepting a return catch from Ebrahim.
Duffin made 56 from 170 minutes of batting during which he faced 130 balls and hit eight fours. Ebrhaimís vigil lasted 109 minutes and 82 balls and included two boundaries.
Zimbabwe now had another useful stand forged between Taibu and Streak as they took to tea without further loss at 167 for four.
The final session went largely Indiaís way as Kumble struck twice and Zaheer managed to find that late swing on the old ball which troubled batsmen no end up.