Whether you lose by an innings or win by an innings, it’s still a special occasion to play at the MCG.
Or even if it’s a dead-rubber match with Australia three-nil up in a five-match series.
England captain Alastair Cook is happy to talk about his memories of Melbourne’s 2010 Boxing Day crowd, when the home fans streamed out of the ground in disgust at Australia’s first-innings tally of 98.
The tourists won that match by an innings and 157 runs, but in 2007 it was Shane Warne’s turn to inspire the Aussies, who claimed victory by an innings and 99 runs.
“It’s a very special occasion,” Cook said yesterday.
“I’ve played a couple of these games now.
“One where it started off as a full house and ended with just the English in here. A great day.
“And another time, the noise with Shane Warne taking his 700th Test wicket was something I’d not heard before.”
A world-record crowd of more than 90,800 is predicted and Cook is aware the fans will be full of Christmas cheer.
“I’ll be standing at slip, so I’ll be quite a long way from it,” he said.
“It’s been pretty hostile around the place for the guys on the boundary.
“When the Aussies come to England some of the crowds, certainly at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, can be quite fiery as well, but that’s part of the enjoyment of it.”
Australia captain Michael Clarke said it was a special occasion to walk out onto the MCG.
“Especially Boxing Day,” he said.
“Hopefully we can fill the stadium and get close to 100,000 and put on a show for them with good, entertaining cricket.”
Clarke is vague on the details of his previous MCG Ashes encounter.
“You can refresh my memory,” he said.
“I would imagine it wouldn’t have been good.
“That’s probably why we haven’t spoken about it.”