Anthony Albanese caught up in 'extraordinary' fourth Test farce

The Australian prime minister left fans stunned with his pre-match ceremony.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese waves with Indian PM Narendra Modi and Steve Smith during the toss.
The cricket world has erupted over the bizarre scenes of prime minister Anthony Albanese and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi ahead of the fourth Test. (Images: Getty Images/Twitter)

Steve Smith and Rohit Sharma's men have been restricted from warming-up on the field due to the bizarre ceremony for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian leader Anthony Albanese. Australia are looking to carry on the momentum from Indore to level the series against India in the highly-anticipated fourth Test.

The opening day at Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad, is expected to break the attendance record for a single day at the cricket. Watching on in the record crowd will be Australian Prime Minister Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Modi.

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But, the arrival of both national leaders sparked a bizarre disruption ahead of the pivotal showdown. Before any Test match, players are often seen marking out their run-up, fielding and warming-up.

Despite the importance of the Test match, this was not the case in Ahmedabad as 'extraordinary' scenes unfolded. Only an hour before the match in Ahmedabad, the field cut a desolate oasis as thousands of excited fans flooded into the stadium.

The two national leaders were then paraded around the stadium in a small vehicle upon their arrival, before a ceremony was performed on their behalf. This meant the players were unable to take to the field and were forced to warm-up in the outside practice nets.

Some fans were left confused to why the players, ahead of such a vital Test match, couldn't warm-up on the field. While others joked that they had never seen such a political ordeal ahead of a Test match.

Albanese presented Smith with his Test cap ahead of the toss with Modi also presenting Sharma his cap during the presentation. The four of them then took photos hand-in-hand to represent the bond shared between the nations through cricket.

Smith went on to win the toss and elected for Australia to bat. Albanese then joined the team on the field and linked arm-in-arm with the players during the national anthem.

Australia remained with the same starting XI that defeated India at Indore with the Mitchell Starc the only full-time quick, while Cameron Green will bowl as the second fast-bowler if needed. Usman Khawaja and Travis Head didn't let the unusual preparation to the Test disrupt them as they got off to a brilliant start, jumping out 0-26 after eight overs.

Record crowd expected at Narendra Modi Stadium

India need a victory in the final Test against Australia to guarantee themselves a place in the ICC Test Championship final later this year.

However, if Australia is to draw or win the final match it will give Sri Lanka a chance at history. Sri Lanka will then need to win their current series against New Zealand 2-0 away from home to meet the Aussies in the final.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese poses for a photo with Steve Smith.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured far right) handed Aussie captain Steve Smith (pictured middle) his baggy green ahead of the fourth Test against India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) (Robert Cianflone via Getty Images)

An estimated 100,000 people could pack into Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday for the first day of the fourth Test between India and Australia, which is set to break the previous record. 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 been 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.

with AAP

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