Gabba crowd record smashed

The 164,747 spectators who streamed through the turnstiles for the opening clash of the most hyped series in Ashes history eclipsed the previous Brisbane Test record of 93,143, set during the controversial “Bodyline” series in 1933.

The record was beaten after only three days of the Test, Cricket Australia (CA) said, with 117,322 spectators piling into the Gabba stadium by the end of Saturday.

The old record was set in the era when Tests stretched over six days, rather than the current five-day format.

“Ashes fever truly gripped Brisbane this week and we’ve seen history created,” Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said.

Sutherland also praised the crowd’s behaviour after Cricket Australia imposed a security clampdown that some critics said went too far and destroyed the game’s atmosphere, effectively silencing England’s “Barmy Army” support group.

“The good-humoured majority showed you can have a few beers, sing along, cheer for your team, get involved in banter and have a great day without crossing the boundary into unacceptable behaviour,” he said

“The last five days saw a new benchmark set by cricket fans in the way they enjoy their cricket, and we hope to see more of the same as we head to Adelaide.”

Cricket Australia said this week that it expected crowd records to tumble at grounds across Australia during the five-Test series.

Barmy Army ‘silenced’

However, Barmy Army organisers have said they hope the atmosphere at Brisbane proves a one-off.

The English fans only found their voice for a short period on day five, when the match was effectively over and sparse attendance meant they could ignore Cricket Australia’s ticket allocations and gather in one area for the first time.

The Barmy Army’s football-style chants are expected to be more prominent at the next two Tests in Adelaide and Perth, where the grounds have grassy banks allowing them to congregate in a single area.