With Sri Lanka 0-14 after 3.2 overs chasing Australia's 9-222, rain began to fall and lasted for over an hour. It left the outfield a little damp and umpires Paul Reiffel and Marais Erasmus would not allow play to recommence.
That means that Sri Lanka holds a commanding 2-1 series lead heading into the final match on Wednesday in Hobart. Sri Lanka cannot lose the five-match series now with the best Australia can manage is to draw it.
The match ended with Sri Lanka 0-14 with Mahela Jayawardene on four and Tillakaratne Dilshan nine.
Earlier, Sri Lanka was well in control for much of Australia's innings having the home side 3-53 and then 8-166, but Starc batted outstandingly well in the late overs making 52 from 37 balls with seven boundaries to help Australia make a competitive 9-222.
Australia looked unlikely to get anywhere near 200 once David Warner and Moises Henriques copped two poor LBW decisions within minutes of one another.
Warner was given out for 60 off Thisara Perera and then Henriques for three off Rangana Herath to leave Australia 6-130. Neither was able to review their decisions because earlier captain Michael Clarke earlier decided to have his LBW decision looked at off Nuwan Kulasekara.
It was a poor decision at the time with no chance the ball didn’t pitch in line or wasn’t going to hit the stumps, but in hindsight it could have saved the wickets of two of his teammates as well.
Coming off two straight one-day wins over Australia to lead the five-match series 2-1, Sri Lanka looked on top for much of the innings but now with a run chase of 223 ahead of them the game looks evenly balanced.
Clarke decided to go in with the same team that was embarrassed at the Gabba on Friday making just 74 and then losing by four wickets and 30 overs, and he won the toss on Sunday and elected to bat first.
Sri Lanka's seamers did all the damage in Brisbane and the SCG wicket looked likely to offer them some movement early on, and that's exactly how it panned out.
Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga were once again outstanding having Australia 3-53 in the 13th over.
Kulasekara, who took 5-22 on Friday, picked up Phil Hughes for one in just the second over and then backed it up soon after trapped Clarke plumb in front LBW for 20.
Australia was then 2-50 and neither side had a review left with Sri Lanka also blowing theirs on a poor LBW shout off Kulasekara to Warner.
Malinga then also extracted movement in the air and off the pitch like Kulasekara did, and picked up the wicket of David Hussey caught behind for one.
George Bailey and Warner then combined for a partnership of 40 before Bailey played a poor shot straight to mid-wicket off Herath to fall for 22.
Mitchell Johnson then made just 10 and Australia was 7-145 when he fell, and then 8-166 when Matthew Wade was out for a gutsy 31 attempted a lofted cut shot off Perera.
That's when Starc got going, though, and with support from Clint McKay (2 from 11) and Xavier Doherty (10 from 14 not out), he helped Australia make 9-222.
Kulasekara was again outstanding for Sri Lanka finishing with 3-30 from his 10 overs. Malinga took 2-33, Herath 2-37 and Perera an expensive 2-64.