Perera hits ton on debut to put SL in command
Kusal Perera celebrates scoring his ton.
Harare - Sri Lanka pile up 317 for four after winning the toss
Kusal Perera struck his maiden Test century as Sri Lanka took control of the first Test against Zimbabwe on the opening day at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
Perera took advantage of two dropped catches to make an attacking 110, while Kaushal Silva scored 94 as Sri Lanka piled up 317 for four after winning the toss and electing to bat on a batsman-friendly surface.
Zimbabwe had hoped to push an under-strength Sri Lankan side in their 100th Test match, and first under new coach Heath Streak, but were instead dogged by familiar problems with their fielding.
Perera survived chances on 15 and 30, while Silva was put down on 89 and fellow opener Dimuth Karunaratne, who made 56, was dropped in the second over of the match.
Zimbabwe did pull things back in the final hour of the day, with leg-spinner Graeme Cremer picking up two wickets to close with figures of 3 for 82.
Opener Dimuth Karunaratne survived an early catching chance to make 56, and although he fell in the afternoon session when he was caught at midwicket off the bowling of Graeme Cremer, three further dropped chances cost the hosts dearly.
Wicketkeeper Peter Moor was unable to hold onto two thin edges - one from Silva and one from Perera - before Malcolm Waller dropped a simpler chance from Perera at long-on.
As a result, Silva went to tea unbeaten on 92, while Perera's streaky innings had progressed to 37.
Earlier, fast bowler Carl Mumba had become Zimbabwe's 100th Test player as they marked their 100th game in the format, and nearly took a wicket with his first ball when he found the shoulder of Karunaratne's bat, only for Sean Williams to put down a one-handed effort as he back-peddled at gully.
Sri Lanka handed debuts to teenage fast bowler Lahiru Kumara and all-rounder Asela Gunaratne, having been forced to leave five first-choice players back home due to injury.
Regular captain Angelo Mathews and vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal were among those ruled out of the two-Test series, and so left-arm spinner Rangana Herath captained Sri Lanka for the first time at the age of 38.