Glenn Maxwell was delighted to be able to keep his cool and smarts under pressure after guiding Australia to a two-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Tuesday's ODI with a Man of the Match knock.

Maxwell arrived at the crease at 189-5, requiring 113 off 84 deliveries in pursuit of chasing Sri Lanka's 300-7 in a rain-affected game in Kandy.

The Australian all-rounder bludgeoned a thrilling unbeaten 80 from 51 balls to guide the tourists home with nine balls to spare on D/L method.

Maxwell's knock included 12 boundaries, with six fours and six sixes, reaching his half-century from 35 balls, before accelerating to finish the job and take a 1-0 lead in the five-game ODI series.

"Certainly is [a satisfying knock], coming in when I did," Maxwell said after the game.

"There were a few wickets down and we were under a bit of pressure. To be able to hold together at the end and play, as [coach Andrew McDonald] Ronnie just said, one of my 'smarter innings,' is nice.

"And when conditions aren't as favourable for the batting side, that was really pleasing."

Maxwell's innings came amid pressure from Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasarange who claimed 4-58 including the wickets of Alex Carey and Pat Cummins with Maxwell down the other end.

"I was just trying to stay out there as long as I could," said Maxwell, who took 15 runs off Maheesh Theekshana in the 37th over to lower the run rate required below six.

"I knew I was going to get balls to score off in my areas at some stage, and I was just trying to take risks at the right time.

"I think when the left arm spinner came back on, I think there was only three overs left, I think that was a good opportunity to try and get the run rate down under six, and then try and do it in the next over without letting it get to the last over because all sorts of chaos could happen in the last."

Australia skipper Aaron Finch praised Maxwell for his decisive knock.

"That innings by Maxwell, that was pure class," Finch said. "Showed a lot of skill, lot of game smarts as well. Fantastic chase.

"We were always one wicket behind where we would have liked to have been. We were always two or three down, when we would have liked to have been able to build a partnership but that was an extraordinary innings from Maxwell."