Kusal Mendis blasted 86 off 80 balls as Sri Lanka plundered 316-5 off Zimbabwe’s lacklustre attack in the first of five one-day internationals on Friday.
Upul Tharanga hit 79 and Danushka Gunathilaka made 60 as Sri Lanka forged ahead after captain Angelo Mathews won the toss and chose to bat in the first one day international at Galle for 17 years.
Zimbabwe have a mountain to climb as no visiting team has ever successfully chased a 300-plus target in Sri Lanka in a 50-over game.
Mendis and Tharanga each hit eight fours and a six in their quickfire innings that brought the crowd to its feet.
Sri Lanka packed their side with slow bowlers for the game, with off-spinner Akila Dananjaya playing his first international since 2013.
Zimabwe made one change to the side that beat Scotland in their last one-day game, bringing in Donald Tiripano for fellow right-arm seamer Chris Mpofu.
The two countries will also play a Test during the tour.