Melbourne debutant Jackson Bird has retained his place in the team, and will form part of a fast bowling quartet which also includes Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson and the recalled Mitchell Starc.
Captain Michael Clarke believes the green covering on the SCG wicket will suit his quicks, with allrounder Glenn Maxwell denied a Test debut after being named 12th man.
Australia side for Third Test against Sri Lanka:
Michael Clarke (capt), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Mike Hussey, Matt Wade, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell (12th man).
Johnson, playing his 50th Test for Australia, will fill the allrounder's role, with Shane Watson out due to a calf strain.
Clarke said Johnson's form with the bat, coming off an unbeaten 92 in the Second Test, combined with the state of the pitch had dictated selection.
"A fair bit of grass on the wicket, the boys bowled really well in the last Test match," Clarke said.
"And bringing Mitchell Starc back into the team obviously helps our attack, especially with the form he's in.
"Mitchell Johnson's batting, he's batting as well as an allrounder now anyway.
"I'm confident we've got enough batting still with Matthew Wade at six and Mitchell Johnson at seven and we've got extra bowling which is a real positive for us."
Maxwell, who combines his off-spin with aggressive batting, was expected to get a run in Sydney to give him some experience before his likely selection for the tour of India.
Clarke will bat at No.4 in the absence of Watson, with Mike Hussey to push up to No.5 for his farewell to Test cricket.
Usman Khawaja is on standby for Clarke, but the skipper is expected to overcome a hamstring problem and play.
"I think my hamstring's better than it was in Melbourne. If I didn't think I could perform at my best I wouldn't take the field," Clarke said.
"It certainly won't be because of my hamstring that I don't make a big score."