East replied strongly with 108 for no loss at stumps on the opening day of the tie, with openers Arindam Das (51 in 104 balls with 8 fours) and Shiv Sunder Das (50 in 64 balls with 8 four) at the crease.
The Zimbabweans, put in to bat by East captain Sourav Ganguly after he won the toss, squandered the chance of batting first on a track ideal for stroke-play and were reduced to 103 for 9 after being 64 for 1 at one stage.
They would have been bundled out much earlier had number 11 batsman W Mwayenga not cracked a 49-ball 42 and also put on the highest stand of the innings, worth 53 runs, with number ten batsman Graeme Cremer, who remained not out on 9.
Zimbabwe's innings ended during the extended second session of play after they were nine down at the scheduled tea break.
Bengal medium pacer Ranadeb Bose ripped out the top half of the visitors' batting, sending back four top order batsmen to end up with fine figures of 5 for 28 in 17 overs.
His new ball and Bengal partner Shib Sankar Paul grabbed three of the other five Zimbabwe first innings wickets while Ganguly and off spinner Sourashish Lahiri got a wicket each.
Zimbabwe were routed by North Zone by an innings in under three days in their earlier league clash.
Zimbabwe XI (1st innings):T Duffin lbw Lahiri 13N Fereira lbw Bose 21H Masakadza b Bose 28D Ibrahim c Ganguly b Bose 4B Taylor c Dasgupta b Bose 4C Coventry c Dasgupta b Paul 7B Mahwire b Ganguly 18P Utseya c Dasgupta b Bose 0A Ireland b Paul 0G Cremer not out 9W Mwayenga lbw Paul 42
Extras: (lb 4, nb 6) 10
Total: (All out in 290 mins, 62.5 overs) 156
Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-64, 3-68, 4-73, 5-74, 6-86, 7-87, 8-90, 9-103.
Bowling: Paul 17.5-6-39-3, Bose 17-9-28-5, Ganguly 14-2-29-1, Lahiri 6-0-23-1, Nadeem 8-1-33-0.
East Zone (1st innings):A Das batting 51S S Das batting 50
Extras: (lb 1, nb 6) 7
Total: (for no loss in 27 overs) 108
Bowling: Mahwire 10-3-24-0, Mwayenga 7-1-25-0, Ireland 5-0-30-0, Utseya 4-0-22-0, Cremer 1-0-6-0.