January 2, 2017 / 11:23 PM / a year ago

Cricket-Australia win toss and chose to bat in third test

SYDNEY, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Australia captain Steve Smith won the toss and chose to bat first in the third test against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

The hosts have already ensured victory in the series after wins in the day/night Brisbane test and Boxing Day contest in Melbourne gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Australia named their team on Monday, recalling left-arm orthodox spinner Stephen O‘Keefe to join Nathan Lyon in a twin slow-bowling attack and handing a debut to all-rounder Hilton Cartwright.

“It looks a good wicket, might be a little slower in this session then quicken up a bit,” Smith said.

“It’s been a good start to the series and it was great to wrap it up in Melbourne but 3-0 is on the cards and we want it.”

Pakistan also made two changes to the team that lost in a dramatic finish to the second test, handing a debut to left-handed opener Sharjeel Khan, who comes in for Sami Aslam, and recalling right-arm paceman Imran Khan in place of Sohail Khan.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq said Pakistan had considered following Australia’s lead in playing two spinners but decided there might not be enough for the slow-bowlers on the first two days of the test.

“We thought a lot about that but we cannot control the toss and we sometimes struggle without that seam option,” he said.

“It will be important that we get something out of that first session. We need to get some wickets and put them under pressure.” (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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