Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane November 26, 2006

Gabba crowd smashes previous record

Cricinfo staff

The prospect of a close contest drew the public to the first Test © Getty Images
Record crowds have packed the Gabba for the first three days of the opening Ashes Test, beating the previous record set during the Bodyline series. The Sunday Mail reported Saturday's crowd of 39,000 took the overall attendance to 117,603, well above the the 93,143 that flooded into the Gabba in 1932-33 for a six-day match.

The Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland told the paper he was not concerned that the one-sided nature of the first Test would affect the "phenomenal" tally. "There is nothing we can really do about what happens on the field," Sutherland said. "There are lot of things to enjoy about Test cricket, even if there is not a great contest."

He said the keen interest in this year's series was no doubt sparked by Australia losing the Ashes in England in 2005. "Two or three matches were decided during prime-time television here in the 2005 series, so the whole country was captivated," he said.

Sutherland said Cricket Australia expected all five Test venues to break attendance records this season. Each of the first three days of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG are likely to break the single-day high of 90,800 spectators at Melbourne in 1961. He said gate revenue was also expected to be at record levels, with takings set to top $28 million for the season.