Opening bowlers Tendai Chatara and Tinashe Panyangara, playing in their third and fourth Tests respectively, both gained early movement and lift off the pitch.
Chatara struck first when Mohammad Hafeez was caught at second slip off a ball which lifted sharply.
Panyangara followed up with the wickets of Khurram Manzoor, who went back on his stumps and was leg before wicket to a ball which cut back, and Younis Khan, who was bowled when he played forward tentatively and the ball trickled back onto his stumps.
Taylor withdrew on the morning of the match after his wife gave birth to the couple’s first child. Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza replaced Taylor, earning his first Test cap.
The withdrawal of Taylor, Zimbabwe’s leading batsmen, was the latest setback for the host nation following a pay dispute which threatened to prevent the match from taking place.
The players only agreed on Monday to play following a commitment by their board to pay outstanding salaries before next week’s second and final Test in Bulawayo.
Zimbabwe fielded an inexperienced bowling line-up, following the retirement of Kyle Jarvis in order to pursue a county cricket career in England and Graeme Cremer’s unavailability because of the pay issue. Batsman Sean Williams also withdraw because of the pay dispute.
Pakistan 74 for 3 (Misbah-ul-Haq 31*, Azhar Ali 24*; Tinashe Panyangara 2 for 15) vs Zimbabwe.