Hambantota - Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor won the toss and sent Sri Lanka into bat in the opening game of the World Twenty20 at Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium on Tuesday.
Ajantha Mendis returned for Sri Lanka after an eight-month lay-off following back trouble, while 23-year-old right-handed Dilshan Munaweera made his international debut in the Group C clash on home soil.
South Africa are the third team in the Group. Twelve teams are divided into four groups of three teams each with top teams qualifying for the Super Eight Stages.
Zimbabwe surprisingly omitted left-arm spinner Ray Price and instead relied more on pace.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Angelo Mathews, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dilshan Munaweera, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis.
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (captain), Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Craig Ervine, Graeme Cremer, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Brian Vitori, Prosper Utseya.
Umpires: Rod Tucker (AUS) and Ian Gould (ENG)
TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)