Toss England chose to bat v Australia
Joe Root won a toss that was delayed by rain and England will bat first in the final Ashes Test at the SCG. Wet weather in Sydney meant that the toss was postponed by two hours and ten minutes, although an early lunch break was taken in an effort to minimise the amount of play lost. The first ball was due to be bowled at 12.40pm.
England included the legspinner Mason Crane for his Test debut, replacing the injured Chris Woakes, and Crane was set to become the 683rd man to play Test cricket for England. At 20, he will also be the youngest specialist spinner to debut for England in 90 years, since Ian Peebles played at the age of 19 in 1927.
“He’s a very excited young man, as you’d expect him to be,” Root said of Crane at the toss. “A great competitor. He’s come on in leaps and bounds on this trip and I expect him to do extremely well.”
Australia also made one change, with Mitchell Starc returning to the side at the expense of Jackson Bird after missing the Melbourne Test with a bruised heel. Steven Smith said that although he would also have chosen to bat had he won the toss, he was not displeased that his fast men would have first use of the conditions.
“I would have batted, but not too disappointed,” Smith said. “A bit of moisture in the pitch, a little bit of grass, a bit of overhead conditions. I think the new ball might do a little bit, so we’ve got to make the most of it.”
Root said: “It looks a pretty good wicket to be honest. I know there’s a bit of weather around, a bit of moisture around, but if we play well for the first two sessions, it looks like it might deteriorate and spin might come into the game later on.”
Australia 1 Cameron Bancroft, 2 David Warner, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Shaun Marsh, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Tim Paine (wk), 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Nathan Lyon.
England 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Mark Stoneman, 3 James Vince, 4 Joe Root (capt), 5 Dawid Malan, 6 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Tom Curran, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Mason Crane, 11 James Anderson