Samit Patel came in for his first match of the NatWest Series as England bolstered their batting in the absence of the rested Graeme Swann.
All-rounder Patel was named, rather than Swann's fellow off-spinner James Tredwell, in the fourth match of the series against Australia at Chester-le-Street.
Patel's inclusion was one of two changes to England's winning team as they eye an unassailable 3-0 lead, with James Anderson returning after his groin injury.
Australia made two changes too, preferring seam to spin.
James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus came in for Mitchell Johnson and slow left-armer Xavier Doherty.
Play was set to get under way on time, despite the welter of rain which hit the north-east on Friday night - and after Alastair Cook won the toss, he unsurprisingly chose to bowl first under cloudy skies.