Colombo: Zimbabwean bowlers struggled after paceman Henry Olonga's early double- strike in its only tour game ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Saturday.
The tourists were thwarted by middle-order batsman Gayan Ramyakumara, who scored an unbeaten 103 to help the Sri Lankan Board team reach 269 for four at stumps on the penultimate day of a three-day match.
Zimbabwe, preparing for the opening Test starting in Colombo on Thursday, had earlier declared its first innings closed at the overnight total of 319 for six. Ramyakumara put on 167 for the fourth wicket with Jeewan Mendis (79) after Olonga had taken two wickets in the morning session.
Zimbabwe, who rested strike bowlers Heath Streak and Travis Friend, then had to wait for more than a session for its fourth wicket as Ramyakumara and Mendis batted steadily to neutralise the tourists' early advantage.
The left-handed Ramyakumara, who hit 13 fours and two sixes in his fourth first- class century, also added 49 for the unbroken fifth-wicket stand with Prasanna Jayawardene (26). Mendis, playing only his third first-class match, struck eight boundaries in his 198- ball knock before being caught by skipper Brian Murphy off medium-pacer Douglas Marillier in the last session.
The tourists began impressively as they grabbed three wickets in the first session, with Olonga taking two and Gary Brent one. Olonga dismissed Ian Daniel (1) in his second over and then Chamara Silva (26), while Brent accounted for skipper Pradeep Hewage (20).