4 Jan 2016

West Indies bat first in third test

7:28 am on 4 January 2016

Rain has caused delays on the first day of the third and final cricket test between Australia and the West Indies in Sydney.

The West Indies were 115 for 3 when the rain set in shortly before 4pm (NZT), with opener Kraigg Brathwaite unbeaten on 66.

The West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels.

The West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

But play resumed at the Sydney Cricket Ground at 6pm, with day one allowed to go as late as 9pm to catch up some of the time that was lost.

Showers were forecast right through day, while heavier downpours are predicted for the remainder of the five-day match.

Earlier, the West Indies won the toss and elected to bat first.

The West Indies captain, Jason Holder, said the wicket looked good for batting, and he was hopeful the team could continue the way they left off in Melbourne - where they put up a fight in the second innings..

The Australian captain, Steve Smith, admitted he would have chosen to bat first too.

"Hopefully, the overhead conditions will let us swing it a bit," Smith said.

The visitors had just lost Marlon Samuels to a run out for 4 when they were forced off the park by rain.

Shai Hope, who has come in to the team for the injured opener Rajenda Chandrika, was the first wicket of the day, caught behind in the fifth over for 9.

Kraig Brathwaite and Darren Bravo managed to stabilise the innings with a partnership of 91, before Bravo was caught off the bowling of James Pattinson.

Showers are forecast to continue right through to the end of play today, while heavier downpours are predicted for the remainder of the match.

Australia are playing two spinners for the test, with spinner Stephen O'Keefe joining Nathan Lyon in the bowling attack, in place of the injured seamer Peter Siddle.

It's the first time since 2006 that Australia have named two spinners for a home test match.

Australia won the first test in Hobart by an innings and 212 runs inside three days, but a similarly short match in Sydney looks unlikely - if only because of the weather.

After convincing victories in Hobart and Melbourne, Australia have an unassailable 2-0 lead going into the match.

Victory and a clean sweep for Australia would send them above India into second place in the test world rankings.

- Reuters, RNZ