Donald Tiripano and Sikandar Raza took a wicket each as Zimbabwe reduced Sri Lanka to 122 for two in their first innings before bad light brought a premature end to the second day of the final Test at the Harare Sports Club on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe had posted 406 all out in their first innings and lead by 284 runs on a wicket that is offering little encouragement to the seamers, but providing turn for the spin bowlers, which is likely to be the key factor in the remainder of the Test.
Kusal Mendis (19 not out) and Angelo Mathews (four not out), who crafted an unbeaten double ton in the first Test, will resume on the third morning with Zimbabwe the happier of the two camps.
The home side claimed the wickets of both Sri Lanka openers with their scores on 44. Captain Dimuth Karunaratne was trapped leg before wicket by off-spinner Raza before Oshada Fernando edged seamer Tiripano to wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva.
Sean Williams top-scored in the Zimbabwe first innings on Monday with a superb 107 from 137 balls.
With the hosts resuming day two on 352 for six, Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya put a poor first day behind him as he claimed three of the final four wickets for figures of 4-182.
Zimbabwe will feel well ahead in the game if they can pick up key wickets in the first session on Wednesday, having made it into the final hour on the fifth day of the first Test at the same venue earlier this month, only to lose by 10 wickets.
It was their return to the international arena having been briefly suspended by the International Cricket Council last year because of government interference.