Mike Hussey topscored with a fighting unbeaten 71 to steer Australia to 239 for eight off their 50 overs in the opening one-day international against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.
Hussey, who has been struggling for form ahead of this month's Ashes series against England, grafted for 91 balls with just one boundary and 40 singles as the anchor of the Australian innings at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Only Hussey and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, with 49 off 55 balls opening the innings, looked comfortable against the tight Sri Lankan bowling with Thisara Perera finishing with a five-wicket haul.
Hussey's only boundary of his controlled knock came off his 71st ball faced to reach his half-century.
Australia are bidding to end their five-match losing run in international cricket but set Sri Lanka a reasonable target of 4.80 runs an over for victory in the evening session under lights at the MCG.
Shane Watson was the first wicket to fall when he was deceived by a slower delivery from Lasith Malinga and popped up a leading edge to Chamara Silva for 10 off 20 balls after putting on 30 for the opening wicket with Haddin.
Stand-in skipper Michael Clarke looked to be playing himself in until on 27 he got a thick edge with an attempted cut off Perera and wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara took a diving one-handed catch.
Perera rocked Australia when he snapped up the wickets of Haddin and Cameron White with successive deliveries.
Haddin just missed a half-century when he was snapped up by a flying Tillakaratne Dilshan for 49 and Cameron White was bowled by a beautiful delivery which straightened and crashed into his off-stump for a duck.
The Australians suddenly had slumped from 88 for two to 88 for four in the 19th over.
Hussey saw off the hattrick delivery when he scampered through for a single.
Shaun Marsh put on 67 runs for the fifth wicket with Hussey before he flashed at spinner Suraj Randiv and was gloved by Sangakkara for 31 off 53 balls.
Perera picked up his fourth wicket when he had Steven Smith caught by Sangakkara dabbling at a leg-cutter for 12.
Nuwan Kulasekara bowled Mitchell Johnson off an inside edge for 10 and Perera took his fifth wicket of the innings when John Hastings was bowled for 16 attempting a lap shot to fine leg.
Perera finished with five for 46 off eight overs.