After resisting valiantly for most of the final day, Sri Lanka gave up their final six wickets in just over an hour in the evening session and thus lost the first Test by 137 runs in Hobart, handing Australia a series lead.
The visitors were looking solid at tea, sitting on 186 for four after losing only two wickets in the first two sessions. But they were eventually all out for 255, thanks to a superb five-fer by Mitchell Starc and four wickets to Peter Siddle, who was awarded man of the match.
Siddle ended the game with nine wickets and not ten, thanks to Starc's interference, but it didn't matter who did the job as long as they won, and they did so in nerve-racking fashion. It almost looked like the game would be a repeat of Adelaide's draw against South Africa, but there was no Faf du Plessis to save the Sri Lankans.
Technically, the visitors were chasing 393 to win, but had resigned themselves to batting out the day to secure a draw, having never won a Test on Australian soil. They ate up the overs early on, and the top order did well to stifle the Aussies, but once Angelo Mathews departed after tea, the cookie crumbled.
Sri Lanka began the day on 65 for two, with skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara in the middle. The veteran duo used up valuable deliveries without scoring many runs, before the captain was dismissed in the 56th over for 19, off 77 balls.
Sangakkara then continued his resistance, recording a half century at agonising pace alongside Thilan Samaraweera, sticking only six boundaries in his 63 runs. He face a massive 226 deliveries before being trapped in front by Peter Siddle in the afternoon session.
Australia were so desperate to take wicket that they turned to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, who had never bowled a ball in first class cricket, to take the final over before tea. He handed the gloves to Phil Hughes and sent down a nifty military medium maiden.
Mathews and Samaraweera resumed after tea, but the former couldn't last further than 61 deliveries before being caught behind by Wade, once again behind the stumps, off Siddle. The score then was 201 for five, so they lost their last five wickets for 50 runs.
Starc was superb with the old ball, swinging it all over and producing yorkers of the highest order, showing that his T20 experience could come in handy even in the longest format. He go the final wicket with 10-odd overs to go in the day, Shaminda Eranga caught behind.
The second Test takes place in Melbourne on 26 December, where the hosts will hope skipper Michael Clarke will be fit after picking up a hamstring injury in this game.