The captain ended the day 105 not out after anchoring his side’s innings with help from Malcolm Waller as the pair shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 127.
Robiul Islam was the pick of the Bangladeshi bowlers with two-for-56 but it was a largely frustrating day for the tourists as Zimbabwe closed on 217 for four.
Opener Timycen Maruma, wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbani and all-rounder Keegan Meth were all selected for Test debuts for Zimbabwe while Elton Chigumbura was also drafted back into the team having not featured since the last time these sides met in Harare in 2011.
Shakib Al Hasan was back for the visitors after five months out through injury. Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bowl but it was slow going with Zimbabwe adding just 10 runs before a yorker from Robiul Islam sent Vusi Sibanda (five) back in the ninth over.