Harare: Upul Tharanga ground his way to a half-century as Sri Lanka retained control of the first Test against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
Playing his first Test in more than a year, Tharanga was content to adopt a patient approach as his unbeaten 51 carried Sri Lanka to lunch on 397 for five.
The left-hander began the day on 13 and saw off the second new ball in a slow first hour that saw the tourists score just 34 runs from 16 overs.
Although the second hour brought a fourth wicket for Zimbabwe legspinner Graeme Cremer when he had Dhananjaya de Silva caught at long-on, Tharanga and debutant Asela Gunaratne found more fluidity as the day progressed.
Gunaratne reached lunch on 23 not out, while Cremer had figures of 4 for 109 from 32 overs.
With Zimbabwe dropping four catches on the opening day of their 100th Test match, Kusal Perera’s maiden Test century allowed Sri Lanka to reach stumps on day one on 317 for four.