MCG crowd breaks test attendance world recordBy AP News Dec 27, 2013 5:16AM UTC
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A world record crowd of 91,092 attended day one of the fourth Ashes test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday to watch Australia again take the contest to England.
The total crowd surpassed the previous mark of 90,800 for a single day of test cricket, also at the MCG, set on the second day of the fifth test of the West Indies’ tour of Australia in 1961.
Despite Australia already clinching the Ashes 3-0 after the third test at Perth last week, Australian fans have been eager to witness the resurgence of their national team after three consecutive Ashes series defeats.
“To play in front of 90-plus-thousand people … the noise out there was unbelievable,” Australia pacemen Ryan Harris said.
“The boys in the change room now are just so pumped that they played in front of that many people,” Harris told a news conference after stumps. “And the noise we got our there was just unbelievable. Especially at the end when Mitchell (Johnson) was charging in, it was just enormous.”
Ian Bell, who replaced out of form wicketkeeper Matt Prior as England vice-captain, said playing in front of such a large crowd was a rare experience.
“As a player it’s something that you’ll never forget, so I think any opportunity you get to come and play at the MCG is a great one,” he said.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Melbourne’s annual Boxing Day test has become a “landmark event” for Australians.
“We thank and congratulate the cricket loving public of Melbourne and the Melbourne Cricket Club for creating something special.”
The MCG has a maximum capacity of 100,000, according to its website, and has attracted bigger crowds for football and Australian Rules football matches.