Lahiru Thirimanne and Mahela Jayawardene were the high-scorers for the visitors. Thirimanne scored a career best 91 and Jaywardene score fifty after 2009 outside Sri Lanka.
Jackson Bird, picked up four wickets for Australia, whereas Mitchell Starc picked up three wickets.
The last time Jayawardene had passed 50 outside Sri Lanka was way back in November 2009 in India, although he has continued to score heavily at home. He went 26 innings outside Sri Lanka without a half-century.
At the interval Lahiru Thirimanne, who only arrived in Australia this week to cover for the injured Kumar Sangakkara, was on 37 not out after having a leg before wicket dismissal overturned on review on the first ball he faced.
Angelo Mathews was yet to score.
After his close shave Thirimanne knuckled down to play straight and add some solidity to the Sri Lanka batting, woefully missing in Melbourne last week where they lost by an innings and 201 runs after being routed for 103.
Australia removed both Sri Lankan openers in the morning session.