Chasing a massive 322-run target, Sri Lanka lost six of their batsmen for 144 before Nuwan Kulasekara (73) and Upal Tharanga (60) added quick 104-run stand to resurrect their run chase against Australia.
For Australia, David Hussey was the most successful bowler as he took 4 Lankan wickets for 43 runs in 8 overs. Pacers Shane Watson (3-33) and Brett Lee (3-59) shared six Lankan wickets as Australia bowled Sri Lanka out for 306 in 49.2 overs.
Shane Watson provided Australia an important breakthrough when he dismissed Tharanga in 46th over to reduce Sri Lanka to 285/8 in 45.5 overs. Tharanga played a patient innings of 60 off 67 balls, which included just three boundaries.
David Hussey struck for the fourth time to end Kulasekara’s heroic in the 42nd over and put a break on the dangerous looking partnership.
Kulasekara hit three huge sixes and seven fours in his 43-ball blitzkrieg as he raced to his second ODI fifty off just 33 balls to lead the Lankan fightback.
Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals as David Husssey dismissed Maharoof and Thirimanne in quick succession to reduce Sri Lanka to 144/6 in 30.1 overs.
Brett Lee took his third wicket when he had Kumar Sangakkara caught by Shane Watson at mid-off. Sangakkara hit 4 fours in his 49-ball 42 before falling to Lee.
David Hussey struck with his first delivery when he had Dinesh Chandimal caught by James Pattinson at point.
Lee dismissed Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan in his successive overs to put Sri Lanka in a spot of bother.
Lee gave Australia the first breakthrough when he had Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene caught behind by Matthew Wade and in the next over clean bowled Dilshan for his second wicket.
Earlier, David Warner’s career-best 163 powered Australia to 321/6.
Warner’s 157-ball 163 was studded with 2 sixes and 13 fours and his knock is the highest by any batsman at the Gabba in a one-dayer.
Clarke hit 5 fours in his 25-ball 37 before Lasith Malinga had him caught by captain Mahela Jayawardene at mid-wicket.
Australia lost Daniel Christian and David Hussey in consecutive overs as Sri Lanka looked to pull things back.
Dhammika Prasad had Christian caught behind by Kumar Sangakkara and in the next over Rangana Herath took a good return catch to dismiss David Hussey.
Warner reached his maiden ODI century soon after the dismissal of Shane Watson.
Warner reached his ton off 111 balls with the help of 8 fours and 2 sixes.
Farveez Maharoof gave Sri Lanka the second breakthough when he had Watson caught by Lahiru Thirimanne at deep square leg off a slower ball.
Rangana Herath took a superb one-handed catch at long-on to dismiss Matthew Wade off Nuwan Kulasekara.
Wade mistimed a hit to long-on where Herath was standing a few yards inside the ropes and keeping his eyes on the ball throughout, back-pedalled a few steps, stuck out his left hand and caught it while falling back and made sure he caught it clean with his feet well inside the ropes.
Wade hit a six and 4 fours in his 72-ball 64.
David Warner and Wade brought up the Australian hundred in the 18th over to lay the foundation of a good score.
Wade, who was more aggressive than Warner, reached his fifty off 52 balls. Warner reached his half-century off 61 deliveries.
The start came after Australian captain Michael Clarke won the toss and chose to bat.
The team winning this final should ideally carry momentum into the second match. Australia may hold a slight edge as they have been victorious in their last five matches in Brisbane.
But the Sri Lankans have beaten Australia in three straight games and what’s more, have bowled them out thrice which should matter more now that the first final is on a pacy and bouncy strip.
Australia are bolstered by the return of fit-again regular captain Clarke, who comes in place of Peter Forrest. Clint McKay has been replaced by Brett Lee.
Farveez Maharoof comes back but Thisara Perera is still injured. Dammika Prasad comes in place for Angelo Mathews. Upul Tharanga replaces Sachithra Senanayake.
The Gabba pitch has is a bit of moisture and a hint of grass. It has rained since the past two days in Brisbane and the team chasing over 240 should face a tricky challenge.
Australia: Michael Clarke (Capt.), David Warner, Matthew Wade, Shane Watson, Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Daniel Christian, Brett Lee, James Pattinson, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (Capt.), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Upul Tharanga, Farveez Maharoof, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath.