Seamer ShamindaEranga grabbed a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket as Australia were dealt early blows by Sri Lanka in the third and final match in Colombo on Friday.
Sri Lankan captain TillakaratneDilshan's decision to send Australia in to bat on a moisture-laden wicket paid off as the tourists slumped to 22-2 by the ninth over.
Shaun Marsh (26 not out) and Ricky Ponting (25 not out) repaired the early damage by adding 41 for the unbroken third wicket as the tourists moved to 63-2 by lunch at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Australia lead the series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Galle by 125 runs. Eranga, 25, one of the three changes in the Sri Lankan side, struck as soon as he replaced ChanakaWelegedara for the eighth over.
Shane Watson, who made eight, chased a ball outside the off-stump and drove straight into the safe hands of Dilshan at point.
Watson's unexpected dismissal came after his opening partner, Phil Hughes, had fallen for a second-ball duck, bowled by SurangaLakmal.
Marsh, fresh from his 141 on debut in the drawn second Test in Pallekele, began solidly as he drove Welegedara through the covers and then cut Lakmal for another boundary. Ponting, returning to the side after missing the Pallekele game due to the birth of his second child, survived two confident appeals for catches behind the stump before he had reached double figures.
Television replays confirmed there were no edges off the bat and Ponting grew in confidence to take successive boundaries off Welegedara through the cover region.
Australia made two changes from the side that played the last game, dropping injured fast bowler Ryan Harris and middle-order batsman UsmanKhawaja to play Ponting and seamer Peter Siddle.
Sri Lanka, looking for a series-levelling win in Kumar Sangakkara's 100th Test appearance, axed senior batsman ThilanSamaraweera, off-spinner SurajRandiv and leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna. They were replaced by batsman Lahiru Thirumanne, Eranga and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.