Off-spinner Sikandar Raza claimed three wickets to help Zimbabwe restrict Sri Lanka to 203 for eight in the fifth and deciding one-day international on Monday.
Put into bat, Sri Lanka suffered from a lack of partnerships but opener Danushka Gunathilaka (52) and Asela Gunaratne (59 not out) hit gritty half-centuries to steady the home side in Hambantota.
The Angelo Mathews-led side slipped to 153-8 in the 42nd over before Gunaratne and Dushmantha Chameera (18 not out) put on an unbeaten 50-run stand for the ninth wicket.
Raza (3-21), who opened the bowling for the visiting side, rattled Sri Lanka's top order with two wickets including left-handed batsman Upul Tharanga for one.
The 11th-ranked Zimbabwe, who levelled the series at 2-2 on Saturday, are chasing their first bilateral series away from home against a Test side since they defeated Bangladesh on their home turf in 2001. (AFP)