Officials still hope for world-record crowd
CRICKET officials hope for some warmer weather today, still eyeing the world record crowd for a single day’s attendance at a Test.
The MCG attracted 89,155 fans yesterday for day one of the fourth Test, a record for the Ashes and also a record for a Boxing Day match at the ground.
It was just shy of the official all-time markof 90,800, also set at the MCG when Australia played the West Indies during the 1960-61 season.
Shane Warne delighted the bumper crowd with his 700th Test wicket and another fivewicket haul, while the fans also had plenty of excitement late in the day when Australian captain Ricky Ponting had to see off a hat-trickball from his counterpart Andrew Flintoff.
‘‘If the sun was out all day today, we would have had the world-record crowd,’’ Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young said.
‘‘Given the effect of the wet and the cold, we’re rapt with the extraordinary turnout.’’
Ticket sales are also very strong for today’s play.
The Test match aggregate of 350,354, again set at the MCG during the 1936-37 Ashes Test, is another markunder threat if this match goes to five days and the weather holds.
The outlookwas bleak earlier yesterday when rain delayed the start of play by half an hour.
There were two shorter rain breaks either side of lunch and the ground lights were on all day.
But by mid-afternoon the sun was out, although the temperature did not reach 18C.
Clearing showers are also forecast for today.
Even better for officials, the crowd was generally well behaved and there was no pitch invasion when Warne reached the 700 milestone.