Sri Lanka's series-winning hangover allowed Australia to end their seven-match losing streak as Clint McKay and Mitchell Starc set up the eight-wicket victory. The result meant Australia avoided their worst sequence of defeats and gave them a much-needed boost with the Ashes starting on November 25.
Despite the strength of their performance, Australia's opponents were not fully focused after achieving their first series win Down Under on Friday. McKay gained his maiden five-wicket haul and Starc picked up his first four international wickets as Sri Lanka fell to 115 on a bouncy surface with only a hint of green.
Kumar Sangakkara won the toss, batted and was soon regretting the decision. Only two batsmen reached double figures and 25 extras, including 14 wides, boosted the total in front of only 9,037 spectators. The total was the worst crowd for an ODI involving Australia at the Gabba.
The local batsmen had no real problems in their reply and Shane Watson (15) and Brad Haddin (31) were the only casualties, both going to Dilhara Fernando (2 for 47). Michael Clarke, who was in charge during Sri Lanka's stunning win in Melbourne, made sure of the win in the 22nd over, with his glide for four taking him to 50 off 51 balls.
Clarke peaked with back-to-back boundaries off Thisara Perara and lofted a straight six off Suraj Randiv shortly before the finish. The innings ended a difficult week for Clarke and gave him something to smile about.
McKay's three early strikes floored the tourists and Starc, the 20-year-old left-armer in his second ODI, did not let them get up as the batsmen lasted only 32 overs. McKay's damaging burst left the visitors at 3 for 14 in the fifth over and he returned to mop up Randiv and Perera to grab 5 for 33 off nine. Starc stepped in during his second spell to prevent a recovery on the way to a highly encouraging 4 for 27 off nine.
McKay produced a double-wicket maiden in the third over of the match and followed up with another breakthrough in his next effort. Aided by the extra lift, McKay forced Tillakaratne Dilshan (1) to pop a simple catch to Michael Hussey at square leg and then watched Sangakkara (0) aim a big drive and edge behind.
Mahela Jayawardene was also keen to attack but his thicker nick was taken by Cameron White at second slip. Upul Tharanga (28) resisted for a while before being lbw to Watson and then it was Starc's turn to collect his first victim, with Angelo Mathews playing on for 9.
Starc didn't have to wait long for his second breakthrough, which came when Jeevan Mendis (5) nicked a shorter ball to Haddin. Chamara Silva had been in charge of Sri Lanka's fightback but he inside-edged Starc and was bowled for 33, ending Sri Lanka's hopes of a decent total.
The tail didn't last long and the innings was over when Lasith Malinga swung Starc to deep midwicket. Sri Lanka, who were without Nuwan Kulasekara and Muttiah Muralitharan, came to Australia aiming for a first series win here and deserved their overall success, but they will be disappointed with the way the drought-breaking trip ended.