Who hasn't dreamed of playing at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the birthplace of Tests and ODIs, a marvel of architecture? It is the only stadium other than Lord’s to have had a huge impact on the history of the sport. For any player, playing in one of the biggest sports stadiums in the world, The MCG would be the stuff of dreams: huge boundaries impossible to clear, unbelievable seating capacity, thousands of people cheering for you from the stands, what a fantasy!
Let’s save Lord’s for another read and dive deep into knowing more about the Melbourne Cricket Ground, or MCG, as it is widely regarded. The ground is located in Melbourne, Australia, and was built way back in 1853. It is regarded as Australia’s premier sporting venue and has hosted matches of American football, rugby, and the 1956 Olympic Games, along with matches of the sport it is known for. It is the 11th Largest stadium globally and the 2nd biggest cricket ground, with a capacity of about 100,000, next only to the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, India. These many fans cheering for you in unison are set to cause an adrenaline rush.
Melbourne Cricket Ground weather and the pitch are usually favourable for batting, but because of the larger ground borders, bowlers also get the advantage. Batters that can hit the ball out of the ground even with these long boundaries truly show their batting prowess.
The first ever match here was played way back in 1853, and since then, MCG has been famous for hosting some of the biggest and most important matches throughout the history of the sport, like the 2015 world cup final, the first ever Test and ODI matches. With its great history, the stadium is not only a very important venue in modern sports but also has a rich place in heritage. Since then, the stadium has witnessed countless memorable moments and nail-biting finishes, cementing its status as one of the most iconic stadiums in the world.
These are some of the most important and thrilling games played at this ground:
- The 1977 Centenary Test, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first-ever Test match at the MCG, played between England and Australia is considered one of the most important matches played in the history of this sport. The two sides competed heavily against each other, but in the end, Australia came up victorious by 45 runs.
The 1999 World Cup semi-final between Australia and South Africa was the first match to end in a tie and in which the winner was decided by a super over. It was nail biting encounter between the two sides with Australia eventually emerging as the winners.
- The 2006 Boxing Day Test between Australia and England was a high-scoring match that featured great performances from Kevin Pietersen and Shane Warne where Shane Warne picked up his 700th test wicket. Australia secured a narrow victory in a tense chase, making it one of the most exciting Ashes Tests in recent memory.
Credit: Cricket Australia
The 2015 World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand was one of the most one sided world cup finals to ever be played. New Zealand had no answers for Australia's bowling and could only set a target of 183 for the home team. Australia chased the target down in just 33.1 overs and were crowned world champions for the record fifth time and became only the second country to win a world cup at home.
The 2020 Women's T20 World Cup final between Australia and India was historic in itself as a record crowd came to watch the final. Australia’s dominant performance won them the match and the world cup.
Prepare to have your mind blown with these facts about MCG:
MCG has the tallest light towers. The construction of these towers began
in December 1984 and was lit up the very first time on December 3 1984. The approximate height of the tower is about 75-85 meters.
Credit: MCG, The History
The Birthplace of Test Matches:
Even though the first match in MCG was played much earlier, in 1853, a match that took place in 1877 was of the most importance for modern cricket. It was the first test match ever played. This match was between Australia and England, which Australia won by 45 runs.
Birthplace of ODIs:
Along with the first ever test match, MCG also boasts about hosting the first ever ODI game. It was played on 5 January 1971, once again between England and Australia with Australia coming victorious once again.
- For the famously regarded the greatest batsman of all time, Sir Don Bradman, MCG was one of his favourite grounds where he averaged a whopping 128 runs per test.
- A record 130,000 people crowded the ground in the year 1959, but guess what, this crowd was not for a sporting event. It was a religious event held by the American evangelist Billy Graham. This crowd broke the attendance record of the stadium.
With matches like the India vs. Pakistan game in the 2022 T20 World Cup, which witnessed Virat Kohli’s heroics, and the 2015 World Cup Final between Australia and New Zealand, the Melbourne Cricket Ground has history etched on every corner of this stadium. The birthplace of Test and ODI cricket, the MCG, will continue to be an influential place in the sport’s history.