SYDNEY (AP) — Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss and elected to bat first against an illness-hit New Zealand in the third cricket test on Friday.
New Zealand was forced to make five changes, including that of captain Kane Williamson due to a virus.
Glenn Phillips, who only flew in from Auckland on Thursday as injury cover for Williams, will make his test debut. Tom Latham is captain and Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee and Trent Boult are also out.
“It's been a tough 48 hours for us, an illness has gone through the team," Latham said after the toss at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Australia named an unchanged team from the one that clinched the series 2-0 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last weekend.
Players from both teams wore black armbands in memory of those killed in current wildfires in southern New South Wales and Victoria states. Conditions were expected to worsen on Saturday and smoke from the fires could affect play on the second day of the test.
Before the match began, a minute of applause was scheduled to be held to thank the thousands of emergency personnel, many of them volunteers, who are fighting the fires.
Australia: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Travis Head, Tim Paine (captain), James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon.
New Zealand: Tom Latham (captain), Tom Blundell, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Glenn Phillips, B.J. Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Todd Astle, Will Somerville, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner.
Umpires: Aleem Dar, Pakistan; Marais Erasmus, South Africa.
TV umpire: Nigel Llong, England. Match referee: Richie Richardson, West Indies.
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