SYDNEY, Jan 3 (Reuters) - New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and batsman Henry Nicholls were ruled out of the third test against Australia by illness just before the toss on Friday.
Tom Latham will lead a much-changed Black Caps side as they look for a consolation win after heavy defeats in the first two tests of the three-match series, while Glenn Phillips will win his first cap.
In his first action as skipper, Latham lost the toss and Australia will bat first under cloudy skies at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“It’s been a tough 48 hours for us,” said Latham. “I didn’t expect to be doing this. We would have liked to have a bat but hopefully if there’s anything in (the wicket) it will be early.”
Batsman Phillips was called in from New Zealand late on Thursday as a cover after a flu-like bug ripped through the squad.
Spinner Mitch Santner’s condition worsened overnight and he was left at the hotel, while Williamson and Nicholls travelled to the ground only to be ruled out after a net session.
New Zealand made five changes with spinners Todd Astle and Will Somerville coming into the side and paceman Matt Henry playing in place of Tim Southee.
Australia made no changes to the team that beat New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last weekend to seal the series.
Australia: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Travis Head, Tim Paine (captain), Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon.
New Zealand: Tom Latham (captain), Tom Blundell, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Glenn Phillips, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Todd Astle, Will Somerville, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; editing by Richard Pullin)