The MCG’s record for largest crowd to attend a single day of Test cricket is under threat heading into the fourth and final match of Australia’s series in India.
- Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahemdabad holds 132,000 people
- Only two Tests have been played at the ground since a major remodel, and neither made it past three days
- Australia has already surrendered the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but is aiming to level the series at 2-2
An estimated 100,000 people could pack into Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday for the first day’s play.
The final crowd figure will be a source of fascination, with up to 85,000 of the day one tickets in the 132,000-capacity stadium set aside for local families and students.
Initial fears that travelling Australian spectators could be locked out of having access to watch the start of the match have eased.
Fans can now access tickets online after previously only being able to purchase tickets for days two to five.
The record attendance for a day of Test cricket stands at 91,112, from the start of the 2013-14 Ashes battle at the MCG, despite the series already being won by that point.
The opening to the final match of the Border-Gavaskar series is set to be an extravaganza, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to attend as Australia tries to level the series at 2-2 after winning the third match in Indore.
Mr Albanese and India’s prime minister will take part in a series of events before the Test, including handing hats to players and being involved in an opening ceremony.
A number of influential Australian business leaders — including Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, Fortescue Metals boss Andrew Forrest and Commonwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn — will join Mr Albanese on his first trip to India as PM.
Mr Albanese is expected to stay at the Ahmedabad colosseum for about an hour before moving on to other commitments in Mumbai and Delhi.
After a near-five-year rebuild, the stadium in the capital of the Indian state of Gujarat reopened in February 2020.
The first event in the stadium came when Donald Trump arrived in India, with the former president of the United States infamously mispronouncing the names of cricket icons Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli during a speech.
It was also packed for the National Games late last year.
The ground — originally called the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium — was renamed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the 2021 Tests between India and England.
Those two matches, the only Tests at the ground since 2012, will not give fans much hope of the final game of the series breaking the trend of truncated Tests.
The third match of the 2021 series was a day-nighter that did not even make it out of day two as India chased down 49 inside eight overs to win by 10 wickets, and England lost the fourth Test in the final session of day three.
India’s men’s team have lost just two of the 12 matches — two Tests, three ODIs and seven T20s — they have played at the remodelled ground.