Cricket Cricket

Record first-day crowd for Ashes Test at MCG

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RYAN-HARRISMELBOURNE, Australia, December 26 – The opening day of the fourth Australia-England Ashes Test set a new world record crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.

Ground officials announced an updated first-day attendance of 91,092 and the biggest single-day crowd for a cricket Test match.

The massive Boxing Day turnout eclipsed the previous record first-day crowd at the MCG of 90,800 set in the 1961 Test between Australia and the West Indies.

Australia have already claimed the Ashes urn off England with an unassailable 3-0 series lead after huge Test victories in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

England reached first day stumps at 226 for six in the dead rubber fourth Ashes Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.

Kevin Pietersen was unbeaten on 67 with Tim Bresnan not out one.

Meanwhile, Injury-jinxed Shane Watson limped off the field on the opening day of the fourth Ashes Test on Thursday in yet another setback for the Australian all-rounder.

Watson, 32, who has fought an ongoing battle with injuries during his 50-Test career, failed to complete his seventh over late in the middle session and left the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

A Cricket Australia spokesman said: “Shane Watson has some right groin pain and is being assessed by the medical staff on when he can return to the field.”

Watson returned to the ground late in the day after physio treatment and fielded at slip.

Hamstring and calf injuries have been common for the former vice-captain — he missed the 2006-07 Ashes campaign with hamstring trouble — and there has always been a question over how to balance his workload as an all-rounder.

Watson, who has been criticised for a poor conversion rate in Tests with four centuries from 21 half-centuries, hit a quickfire 103 from 108 balls with 11 fours and five sixes in the second innings of the third Ashes Test in Perth before Christmas.

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