Australia's spinners peg Windies back in Sydney rain

West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels (centre) walks off after been dismissed by Australia on the first day of the third cricket Test match in Sydney on January 3, 2016. (AFP)

Australia's spinners Nathan Lyon and Stephen O'Keefe took key wickets between rain showers to peg West Indies back to 207 for six at the end of a weather-disrupted opening day of the dead rubber third test on Sunday.

More than two hours and 45 minutes of play were lost to rain in a stop-start day at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), where the tourists fell away in the early evening gloom after winning the toss and making a solid start.

Denesh Ramdin, unbeaten on 23, and Carlos Brathwaite (35 not out) will resume on day two, weather permitting.

The hosts had rolled the dice on the twin spin attack at the SCG for the first time in a decade and got their reward when Lyon and O'Keefe got plenty of turn off a straw-coloured wicket.

Off-spinner Lyon (2-68) produced a stunning delivery that pitched wide and turned in to take the bail off Jermaine Blackwood's off stump for 10 and returned after the second rain break to remove dangerman Kraigg Brathwaite for 85.

Left-arm orthodox spinner O'Keefe (1-42) then pitched in to have West Indies captain Jason Holder caught superbly at short leg by Joe Burns and claim his first test wicket on Australian soil.

Trailing 2-0 in the three-match series after thumping defeats in Hobart and Melbourne, West Indies had started the day by building on their improved batting performance in the second test.

After the early loss of opener Shai Hope (nine), Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo (33) looked in fine nick as they ushered the tourists to lunch at 92 for one.

Australia's bowlers emerged from the break re-energised, however, and James Pattinson got the breakthrough when Bravo's miscued pull sent the ball flying to Usman Khawaja running in from the deep.

That broke a 91-run partnership and brought Marlon Samuels to the crease looking to break his run of eight test innings without getting to the 20-run mark.

He failed in farcical fashion looking for a quick single that always looked like a gamble, left stranded when Brathwaite scuttled back to his crease as Peter Nevill broke the stumps.

After a long glare at his partner, Samuels headed back to the pavilion with four runs to his name and the rest of the players and umpires followed in his wake as heavy rain came down on the ground.

Kraigg Brathwaite had brought up his eighth test half-century just before lunch by clipping all-rounder Mitchell Marsh past long leg for two runs off the 78th ball he faced.

He fell 15 runs shy off his fifth test century when Lyon got a little bit of extra bounce to a delivery which caught the opener's glove and was snaffled up by Steve Smith at slip.  

Rain

West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels was run out in a dreadful mid-pitch mixup before rain stopped play in the third Test against Australia in Sydney on Sunday.

The senior batsman continued his wretched run of low scores in the series when he was needlessly run out for four.

Samuels, who has scored a total of 35 runs in five innings in the series, hit towards point and darted off for a run only to stop in the middle of the pitch.

Batting partner Kraigg Brathwaite had dropped his bat before retreating to his end and Samuels was stranded by Josh Hazlewood's throw to the striker's end.

To compound Samuels' and his team's woes, rain immediately forced the players from the field and kept them off until tea was taken.

At the time of the onset of rain, the tourists were 115 for three in the 42nd over with Brathwaite unbeaten on 66.

The Windies also lost star batsman Darren Bravo during the middle session for 33 to a hook shot off James Pattinson.

Pattinson dug one in and Bravo top-edged to Usman Khawaja at backward square leg in the third over after lunch.

Bravo looked disconsolate at his dismissal on a flat wicket as he made his way from the ground ending a 91-run partnership with Brathwaite and opening up the Windies batting.

Brathwaite and Bravo have been the two best-performing batsmen in the series for the struggling visitors, with Bravo scoring 108 in Hobart and 81 in Melbourne, while Brathwaite hit 94 in the first Test.

Shai Hope, recalled for injured opener Rajendra Chandrika, began positively with some crisp drives for threes but fell in the fifth over.

Josh Hazlewood got him to prod outside the off-stump and he was snapped up by Peter Nevill for nine.

Chandrika injured his groin in the morning warm-up following on from leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo injuring his shoulder on the morning of the second Melbourne Test.

"Rajendra hurt himself in the warm-up before play and has gone for scans but it appears to be a groin injury," a team spokesman said.

Spinner Nathan Lyon was introduced into the Australian attack in the eighth over, indicating that spin was likely to make a significant impact over the course of the Test.

Fellow spinner Steve O'Keefe was brought on for his first bowl in the 27th over to applause from his home crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

It is the first time two recognised spinners have bowled in tandem for Australia in a home Test for a decade.

The West Indies, who are playing in their first Test at the SCG in 15 years, are chasing their first Test win in Australia since 1997.

 

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