Cricket officials eyeing crowd record - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cricket officials eyeing crowd record

By Roger Vaughan 26/12/2006 10:01:17 PM Comments (0)

Cricket officials are hoping for some warmer weather in Melbourne on Wednesday, as they continue to eye a world record crowd for a single day's attendance at a Test.

The MCG attracted 89,155 fans 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 mark of 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 five-wicket haul, while the fans also had plenty of excitement late in the day when Australian captain Ricky Ponting had to see off a hat-trick ball 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."

When asked if the world record was still possible, Young replied "we certainly hope so".

Ticket sales are also very strong for Wednesday's play.

The Test match aggregate of 350,354, again set at the MCG during the 1936-37 Ashes Test, is another mark under threat if this match goes to five days and the weather holds.

The outlook was bleak earlier 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 18.

Clearing showers are also forecast for day two.

Warne's teammate Justin Langer played to the crowd at one stage, with the fans clamouring for the leg-spinner to start bowling.

Langer drew a loud cheer when he took Warne's hat off, as if to indicate he was about to start his spell, but it was a false alarm.

"He grabbed my hat and took it off and I said 'what are you doing?'," Warne said.

"It was one of those great days, when he did that sort of stuff and we had a bit of fun, it just shows you we're enjoying ourselves.

"It was just amazing, you could feel the intensity in the crowd.

"The rain was there at the start, I thought it was going to be one of those days where we were on and off.

"We were lucky after the break after lunch, a bit of sun even came out and we got a full day's play in."

Even better for officials, the crowd was generally well-behaved and there was no pitch invasion when Warne reached the 700 milestone.

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