Cricket - Cricket-Australia win toss and choose to bowl in third test

By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss and elected to bowl first on the opening day of the third and final test against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

Australia will unleash a four-pronged pace attack comprising Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird on the Sri Lankans as they bid to wrap up the series with a 3-0 sweep.

"The wicket's got a fair bit of grass on it," said Clarke, explaining his decision. "It's difficult one for us but we think the conditions are conducive to it."

Injuries forced Sri Lanka to make four changes to the team that lost the second test in Melbourne by an innings and 201 runs to go 2-0 down in the series last week.

Late call-up Lahiru Thirimanne comes into the side to bat in place of Kumar Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal will keep wickets for Prasanna Jayawardene, who failed a fitness test on Wednesday.

Fast bowlers Chanaka Welegedara and Shaminda Eranga were also ruled out, the latter after turning his ankle while training on Wednesday.

Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal, another late replacement, start in their places in the bowling attack.

"We need to survive and get a good start and if we can get some runs on the board, there might be something in it for us on the fourth and fifth days," said captain Mahela Jayawardene.

The test will be Jayawardene's last as captain as well as Australian batsman Michael Hussey's final foray for his country before retirement.

Teams -

Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon.

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhammika Prasad, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal (Editing by Greg Stutchbury)