Umpires Aleem Dar (right) and Richard Kettleborough (centre) talk to reserve umpire Tony Hill as rain delays the start of play in New Zealand's third and final international Test match of the series against South Africa in Wellington.

Wellington - New Zealand captain Ross Taylor won the toss and chose to field in the third Test against South Africa at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Friday.

Overnight rain had delayed the start of play, with umpires Aleem Dar and Richard Kettleborough deeming the ground unsuitable for play until 2pm (01h00 GMT). The match had been scheduled to start at 10.30am.

New Zealand have strengthened their batting line-up by picking six specialist batsmen. In their previous four tests they used four pace bowlers with left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori batting at number six.

Dean Brownlie, who broke a finger during the Zimbabwe series, returns to the side and is likely to bat at six, while recalled batsman Daniel Flynn is expected to open the batting with Martin Guptill with Brendon McCullum staying at number three.

Jacques Kallis was a late withdrawal from the South African side with a stiff neck with JP Duminy brought into the team, while fast bowler Marchant de Lange has been brought in for legspinner Imran Tahir.

South Africa only need to draw the game to seal the three-match series after they won the second test at Seddon Park in Hamilton by nine wickets.

New Zealand: Ross Taylor (captain), Daniel Flynn, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Dean Brownlie, Daniel Vettori, Kruger van Wyk, Doug Bracewell, Mark Gillespie, Chris Martin.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Jacques Rudolph, Mark Boucher, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Marchant de Lange. - Reuters