Sri Lanka has set Australia a total of 301 to chase for victory in the first ODI in Pallekele.
The hosts recovered from a mid-innings wobble and finished strong, courtesy Wanindu Hasaranga’s 37 off just 19 balls, and Kusal Mendis’ unbeaten 86 from 87.
Jhye Richardson was hit for five-consecutive boudnaries in the 49th over to see Sri Lanka edge closer to the 300 mark.
Sri Lanka eventually ended its 50 overs at 7-300.
Australia took the first wicket in the 20th over with a sharp piece of fielding on the boundary from Marcus Stoinis leading to the runout of Danushka Gunathilaka for 55 off 53 balls.
Just two overs later, fellow opener Pathum Nissanka top-edged a reverse sweep to Ashton Agar to hand Aaron Finch a simple catch — and waste a strong Sri Lankan start.
Sri Lanka continued to slip from there with Agar taking a second wicket when David Warner claimed a brilliant one-handed catch at full stretch to dismiss Dhananjaya de Silva for seven.
The openers got the team off to a great start with their 115-run partnership, but the hosts lost three wickets in quick succession as they were reduced to 134/3, but Mendis and Charith Asalanka did well to rebuild the innings.
Asalanka departed after bringing the momentum back in Sri Lanka’s favour, but Mendis continued to motor along, getting boundaries at regular intervals.
Australia have never chased down more than 267 against Sri Lanka, but are close to full strength with the bat with Warner, Steve Smith and Maxwell playing their first ODIs in 18 months.