Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke steered Australia to a five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in their triangular series one-day match in Adelaide on Thursday.
Hussey (25 not out) and Clarke (16) ensured the world champions passed Sri Lanka's 218 for eight with nine balls remaining after the visitor's slow bowlers had put Australia under intense pressure in the final 10 overs.
Simon Katich (52), Damien Martyn (46) and Andrew Symonds (32) had taken Australia to 175 for three in the 41st over before Muttiah Muralitharan had Symonds caught deep then bowled Martyn two balls later to give his side a chance of victory.
Australia still needed 42 runs off 59 deliveries and with Muralitharan and super sub Malinga Bandara using flight and extracting turn from the pitch the visitors looked like they could sneak an unlikely win.
Clarke and Hussey, however, adopted a careful approach and ticked the runs off with judicious dabs, delicate placement and quick singles.
Muralitharan finished with two for 35 off 10 overs, while Nuwan Kulasekara took the wickets of stand-in captain Adam Gilchrist, who smashed 34 off 33 balls, and Brad Hodge (five) to finish with two for 32 off nine overs.
Australia moved to 14 points on the table, five ahead of Sri Lanka, while South Africa have eight.
Symonds, Brad Hogg and Nathan Bracken had combined to restrict Sri Lanka's free-scoring batsmen who were bogged down on the slow-paced pitch, with several getting good starts but being dismissed before they could push on.
Jehan Muburak (34), captain Marvan Atapattu (32) and Upul Tharanga (31) made the most promising starts before being dismissed.
Off spinner Symonds picked up Mubarak just when he was looking dangerous, and dismissed Chaminda Vaas (15) and Akalanka Ganegama (seven) towards the end of Sri Lanka's innings, finishing with three for 48.
Left-arm wrist spinner Hogg finished with two for 35 off 10 overs, while Bracken varied his pace, having Mahela Jayawardene (25) and Atapattu caught after they misread off-cutters.
Bracken finished with two for 45 off 10 overs.
Australia and Sri Lanka meet in the next match of the series in Perth on Sunday.
J. Mubarak c Lee b Symonds 34
U. Tharanga c Martyn b McGrath 31
K. Sangakkara b Hogg 25
M. Jayawardene c Symonds b Bracken 25
M. Atapattu c Martyn b Bracken 32
T. Dilshan b Hogg 1
R. Arnold not out 27
C. Vaas c Hogg b Symonds 15
A. Ganegama b Symonds 7
N. Kulasekara not out 2
Extras: (b-4 lb-4 nb-3 w-8) 19
Total: (for 8 wickets, 50 overs) 218
Fall of wickets: 1-53 2-96 3-100 4-155 5-161 6-167 7-196 8-207
Did not bat: M. Muralitharan
Bowling: B. Lee 10 - 0 - 40 - 0 (nb-1 w-2), G. McGrath 8 - 1 - 26 - 1 (nb-2), N. Bracken 10 - 1 - 45 - 2, A. Symonds 9 - 1 - 48 - 3 (w-5), B. Hogg 10 - 0 - 35 - 2 (w-1), B. Hodge 3 - 0 - 16 - 0.
A. Gilchrist c Ganegama b Kulasekara 34
S. Katich c Sangakkara b Dilshan 52
B. Hodge b Kulasekara 5
D. Martyn b Muralitharan 46
A. Symonds c Tharanga b Muralitharan 32
M. Clarke not out 16
M. Hussey not out 25
Extras: (lb-2 w-7) 9
Total: (for 5 wickets, 48.3 overs) 219
Fall of wickets: 1-47, 2-73, 3-115, 4-175, 5-177.
Did not bat: B. Hogg, B. Lee, N. Bracken, G. McGrath
Bowling: C. Vaas 8.3 - 0 - 41 - 0, A. Ganegama 6 - 0 - 41 - 0 (w-2), N. Kulasekara 9 - 0 - 32 - 2, M. Muralitharan 10 - 0 - 35 - 2 (w-1), M. Bandara 10 - 0 - 44 - 0 (w-1), T. Dilshan 5 - 0 - 24 - 1 (w-1).