The Ashes: Boxing Day set for world record crowd

England's Matt Prior drops a catch against Western Australia Chairman's XI in Perth. Picture: AP

England's Matt Prior drops a catch against Western Australia Chairman's XI in Perth. Picture: AP

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CRICKET Australia has announced that all available tickets for the opening day of the Boxing Day Test against England have been snapped up, and the near 100-000 crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground could break a 52-year-old world record for single-day attendance.

The MCG’s official capacity is 100,000, although without all the standing room seats being sold, it’s about 98,000 to 99,000. The current attendance record for a single day is 90,800, also at the MCG, during a West Indies test against Australia in 1961.

The first match of this year’s five-test Ashes series begins Nov. 21 in Brisbane. England is attempting to win a fourth straight series.

Meanwhile, England’s suffering continued this morning on day two of their Ashes tour opener in Perth as two more WA Chairman’s XI batsmen passed 50 - to make it six out of the top six in a total of 451 for five declared.

Glamorgan all-rounder Jim Allenby (53) and 20-year-old spinner Ashton Turner (62no), in his maiden first-class innings, completed the sequence as England’s embarrassment extended to a solitary wicket before the hosts called time on their first innings.

There was still the potential too for insult to English injury, in 20 minutes’ batting to lunch.

But an early appeal for caught-behind against Michael Carberry, driving at Burt Cockley, was as close as the tourists came to a scare on the way to 18 without loss.

Boundaries

It was the hosts, in fact, who encountered a setback when Cockley limped off midway through his third over - the last before lunch - and Joe Root then cut replacement seamer Matt Dixon for two fours in three balls.

The Chairman’s XI had moved from their overnight 369 for four past 400 with a rush of eight boundaries in 33 runs and just 27 minutes off the bowling of Chris Tremlett and James Anderson.

Not all the fours came off the middle of the bat. But two down the ground by Turner off Tremlett resoundingly did, and Allenby also got plenty on the one off his legs from Anderson for his eighth boundary to take him past 50 and his team past 400.

He was gone soon afterwards - for the lowest completed score by a home batsman in this match, lbw playing slightly across the third ball of Steven Finn’s first over of another sunny morning.

Turner remained assured, however, completing his 50 alongside wicketkeeper Tom Triffitt - who was dropped by his opposite number Matt Prior, racing back towards fine-leg from a mishook at Boyd Rankin, and was 18 not out when the declaration came.

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