MCG hits record crowd
The MCG has reported a world-record attendance for a day of Test cricket, with 91,092 spectators officially accounted for during the final session on Boxing Day.
At 4.15pm the scoreboard at the ground relayed the message that a new world record had been set, surpassing the 90,800 who attended the second day of the 1960-61 Test against West Indies at the MCG.
"As the birthplace of Test cricket, it is fitting that the MCG has again broken the attendance record for a single day of Test match cricket," said MCC CEO Stephen Gough. "We congratulate Cricket Australia on this achievement and also acknowledge the contribution of our members towards making the Boxing Day Test a hallmark event on the sporting calendar."
"On the back of 100,000-plus people at the AFL Grand Final in September and more than 95,000 witnessing Liverpool FC play a soccer friendly in July, this year has again proven beyond doubt that the MCG is the home of Australian sport and an iconic destination in our city."
Although the figure is the highest ever officially counted for a day's play, Eden Gardens in Kolkata often drew massive crowds in past decades that could have exceeded the Melbourne number but were not officially measured.
The highest in recent years at the MCG had been the 89,155 who attended on Boxing Day during the 2006-07 Ashes Test, which like this season began with Australia already 3-0 up in the series.
The fact the match was a dead rubber did not deter the fans this season; public sales for Boxing Day had officially sold out by lunchtime on Christmas Day, which meant the potential for a record was determined by how many MCC members turned up.
The record crowd was treated to one of the most dour days of the series, though, as England's batsmen took a grinding approach having been sent in by Michael Clarke.
James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia CEO, said: "Throughout the years, the Boxing Day Test has developed a privileged place in the Australian conscience; it's become a landmark event. We don't take that for granted. We thank and congratulate the cricket loving public of Melbourne and the Melbourne Cricket Club for creating something special.
"In years to come Melburnians will remember Boxing Day 2013 as the day their city created sporting history."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here