BIG PICTURE: Great day to be a spectator

DAY three of the Boxing Day test was something special.

Of course, any Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is something to behold.

Put simply, the MCG is a modern day coliseum and last Saturday created an atmosphere like none I’ve ever experienced at a Test match.

The air was thick with humidity and wrought with excitement, the beer was cold (and surprisingly, not flat), and the Australians were spurred on by a raucously belligerent home crowd which created a sense of tribalism only Aussie cricket fans can.

Even though the seats were apparently built for 12-year-olds (clearly the ground’s architects didn’t consider husky gentlemen when they set about fitting almost 100,000 seats in the stadium), the MCG was simply perfect last weekend.

Despite England being well and truly in the box seat at the beginning of day three, the confidence Australia oozed was palpable and rubbed off on the 60,000-strong crowd.

The Barmy Army began the day vocal, but as the momentum swung the liquid courage began to kick in and the Aussie crowd came alive.

As Nathan Lyon weaved his magic on the English, the grandstands exuded an overbearing barrage of noise; support for Australia, contempt for England.

From the concourse of the Great Southern Stand the noise was engulfing, and reverberated around the concrete jungle, creating a sense of individual insignificance and irrelevance.

I can’t imagine what the English players felt.

As Alistair Cook, head down, led his players onto the field for the last session after being bowled out for just 179 the dejection was obvious.

Cook’s team had lost the Ashes in the previous test in Perth, and had thrown away any chance of salvaging some pride by capitulating on day three in Melbourne.

As the sun began to sink behind the Bill Ponsford Stand, so to did it set on England’s tour.

The sunset cast a shadow over the ground, symbolically enveloping the English players in the darkness of their own misery.

Of course, day four and the result is history, but day three signalled the completion of England’s demoralisation.

A whitewash would just be the icing on the cake now.

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