Pallekele - Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood bagged three wickets to leave Sri Lanka rattled on 84 for five at lunch on the opening day of the first Test in Pallekele on Tuesday.
Mitchell Starc, returning after eight months of injury, drew first blood for the visitors after the hosts elected to bat first.
The left-armer trapped Dimuth Karunaratne lbw for five in the fifth over, prompting the opener to call for an unsuccessful review of the decision.
Although spinners are expected to dominate on a dry surface at Pallekele International Stadium, it was the Australian fast bowlers who took early advantage as they tore into the Sri Lankan top order.
Hazlewood, bowling with pace and variety, then trapped Kusal Mendis lbw for eight and had Kaushal Silva caught at first slip by Adam Voges for four.
In his second spell he had vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal caught behind by wicketkeeper Peter Nevill 10 minutes before lunch.
Left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe claimed the prized wicket of captain Angelo Mathews, caught at first slip by his opposite number Steven Smith.
Debutant Dhananjaya de Silva (24 not out) battled to survive the remainder of the first session with Kusal Perera (12 not out).