Sport

SCG Test crowd under microscope in wake of Big Bash League success

There has been a noticeable shortage of fans on day one of the first Test in Sydney as the longer format holds on for dear life to keep up with the overwhelming success of the Big Bash.

The SGG Trust is expecting a crowd of 30,000 for the opening day of the New Year's Test, but a dead rubber - given Australia has taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series against the battling West Indies - and inclement weather look set to put a dampener on the number of cricket fans coming through the turnstiles.

An SCG Trust official said there were at least 30,000 people in attendance by lunch. A final figure will be announced later in the day.  

A day after 80,883 people crammed into the MCG to watch the Melbourne Stars do battle with the Renegades, cricket officials will be hoping Sydneysiders make their way to the ground. If they don't, there might well be embarrassing crowd figure by the day's end.

Just before Josh Hazlewood took the new ball for Australia, there were noticeably few fans situated at the top of the Brewongle stand on the western side, while elsewhere around the iconic ground, which has played host to many memorable New Year's Test matches, there were more vacant teal seats than usual.

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As expected, there are strong numbers in the Members and Ladies stands, but there is a real chance today's crowd number could be lower than the 29,104 who attended the Big Bash game between the Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Stars a week ago.

That figure was the largest for a non-derby domestic T20 match at the SCG.

Officials are also concerned about rain predicted for the beginning of the Test. According to Weatherzone, there is a 90 per cent chance of 10-20 millimetres of rain on Sunday and Tuesday, and 90 per cent of 20-40mm on day two.

There have been minimal problems for fans trying to get into the ground. At the T20 game in Melbourne on Saturday night, a crowd of 50,000 was expected but more than 30,000 fans bought tickets on the day of the derby, which resulted in security measures being exhausted.

The screenings and bag checks at the SCG, while thorough, have not been as extensive as that of the MCG, and with crowd numbers pretty close to forecasts, security have had no issues bringing in spectators.

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