Zimbabwe clung on for a draw in the first Test against the West Indies in Bulawayo on Wednesday.
Set 272 to win in a minimum of 49 overs after West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite declared their second innings at 203-5, Zimbabwe staggered to 134-6 before stumps were drawn.
“To see Zimbabwe come back and force their way back into the game, and pushing for victory, says a lot about Test cricket,” said Brathwaite.
“I believe Test cricket is alive. For the players, Test cricket is about fighting for their country. Zimbabwe did that, that’s test cricket for you.
“We wanted to take 10 wickets [in the final session], that was the focus. But we knew it was going to be difficult and Zimbabwe batted well.”
Zimbabwe produced a gritty rearguard from their lower order after slumping to 119-5 with former England batsman and first innings centurion Gary Ballance edging Chase to wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva for 18.
Any thoughts of chasing down the notional target were long gone with the emphasis shifting to surviving the last 70 balls at the Queens Sports Club.
Brad Evans was dismissed eight balls later for a duck and, having claimed six wickets through spinners Gudakesh Motie and Roston Chase, the tourists sensed a dramatic victory.
But wicketkeeper Tafadzwa Tsiga dug in with a dogged 24* off 83 balls while tail-ender Wellington Masakadza saw off 36 deliveries for a vital match-saving 0*.
The first three innings in the match were all declared with almost 100 overs lost to rain over the first two days.
West Indies opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul was named Man of the Match for his 207* in the first innings, his first Test century.
Ballance also enjoyed a memorable debut for Zimbabwe, marking it with a first-innings 137 which made him only the second batsman after Kepler Wessels to score Test centuries for two countries.
Ballance struck four tons for England before his century against the West Indies while South Africa-born Wessels hit four for Australia and two for his homeland.
Motie bowled 24 overs and claimed four for 50 while Chase took two wickets while conceding only nine runs in 12 overs that included six maidens.
The second and final Test starts on Sunday.
© Agence France-Presse