Australian opener David Warner says they were always going to bat first after winning the toss as they are expecting the SCG pitch to deteriorate and want to bowl last.
Australia are priced at 4/1 to win the series 5-0 but England had one of their better days of the Ashes so far on a rain-interrupted first day of the fourth Test in Sydney.
Aussie skipper Pat Cummins won the toss and after taking a look at the green SCG pitch elected to bat first, but play was delayed by 30 minutes due to rain.
The morning session was halted on two more occasions while there was also a two-hour rain delay either side of tea with just 46.5 overs bowled throughout the day.
When there was play England can be happy with the way they bowled with Stuart Broad continuing to have the sign over Warner who was caught in the slips by Zak Crawley for 30 runs.
Marcus Harris was the next to go, caught by Joe Root off the bowling of James Anderson for 38. England then took the prized wicket of Marnus Labuschagne for just 28 after he nicked a Mark Wood delivery behind.
At stumps Steve Smith remained unbeaten on six, while Usman Khawaja was four not out.
Speaking after the day's play had ended Warner explained their decision to bat first and is expecting the pitch to provide some fireworks on the last couple of days.
Warner said: "That's Sydney weather for you. It rains pretty much every Test we play here. We were surprised with how much play we got. We were always going to bat. There are quite a lot of cracks underneath the surface. We wanted to be the ones bowling last."
Meanwhile England fast bowler Mark Wood says they were determined to come out fighting and can be pleased with their efforts.
"It was a tough day, stop-start. To put the two wickets on at the end changes the perception. If we can start well tomorrow we're right in the game," he said.
"The build-up has been carnage. No coaches, different staff. It's focussed us, brought us together and we're trying to show as much fight as we can."