Sri Lanka made relatively light work of the first T20 against Australia in Sydney on Saturday, winning by five wickets with seven balls to spare, extending their winning run over the Aussies to four games in this format.

If it weren't for David Warner's unbeaten 90 off 62 balls, Australia would have fallen well short of anything defendable, as they limped to 137 for three in their allotted overs. Sri Lanka reached 139 thanks to two big sixes by Thisara Perera.

Warner was the backbone of the hosts' knock as the other batsmen struggled to find form, with Adam Voges spending nearly half the innings in the middle but making only 25 runs off 29 balls as the Sri Lankans kept it tight.

Rookies Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh failed to convert their Big Bash form to the international stage and were both out in single figures, while skipper George Bailey could only make 11 before falling to Thisara Perera.

Warner's knock was much-needed, as he hit five boundaries and three sixes, needing to run a lot more than usual given his big-hitting style. Lasith Malinga was particularly effective, going for only 19 runs in his four overs.

Australia's bowling was nothing near the contained performance by the visitors, with debutant Ben Laughlin suffering at the hands of the batsmen and going for 46 runs in 3.5 overs. It was his bowling that saw Perera hit the winning runs.

Laughlin did have one shining moment though, taking a superb diving catch at full stretch to get rid of Tillakaratne Dilshan for 16. The Sri Lankans didn't have anyone make a big score, but they all chipped in with middling efforts.

Angelo Mathews was still in the middle at the end, having score 35 not out off 27 balls, while Kushal Perera made 33 at the top of the knock. They never really looked in danger of missing the target, and the fans had to deal with a defeat on Australia Day.

The second T20 will be played in Melbourne on 28 January.

Sri Lanka: Kushal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis.

Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, George Bailey (capt), Adam Voges, Matthew Wade (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Ben Cutting, Mitchell Starc, Xavier Doherty, Ben Laughlin.