MCG Test crowd record set to be trumped in Ahmedabad
The MCG's record for largest crowd to attend a single day of Test cricket is under threat from the Indian stadium named after the country's current prime minister.
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.
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 single day of Test cricket stands at 91,112 from the start of the 2013-14 Ashes battle at the MCG.
The opening to the final match of the Border-Gavaskar series is set to be an extravaganza with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to attend.
Albanese and India's prime minister Modi will take part in a series of events before the Test, including handing hats to players and being involved in an opening ceremony.
Preparations are well under way inside the stadium, with signs reading "75 years of friendship through cricket".
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 Albanese on his first trip to India as prime minister.
Albanese is expected to stay at the Ahmedabad colosseum for about an hour before moving on to other commitments in Mumbai and Delhi.
Locals were spotted driving a gold car around the arena on Tuesday, possibly testing it out for Albanese and Modi to be driven in on Thursday.
The sight screen was also erected on Tuesday, with Albanese and Modi on the sign together.
Australia offspinner Todd Murphy, who grew up in the border towns of Echuca and Moama, was looking forward to the challenge of playing in front of such a big crowd.
"It's going to be noisy, it's exciting though," Murphy said.
"I think everyone sort of looks forward to opportunities to play in front of those sort of crowds, it will be a great atmosphere.
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 was a political event when Donald Trump arrived in India, with the former US president infamously mispronouncing the names of cricket icons Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli during a speech.
The ground, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, was renamed after Modi ahead of the 2021 Test between India and England.
That match went ahead with a reduced capacity as COVID-19 restrictions were still in place at the time.