Domain Test Series v New Zealand
Kiwi invasion: NZ fans snap up Boxing Day tickets
Thousands of New Zealand fans have got in early to buy tickets for their first Boxing Day Test at the MCG since 1987
12 August 2019, 02:11 PM AEST
New Zealand cricket fans have wasted little time in purchasing tickets for their first Boxing Day Test at the MCG in more than three decades, with the number of Kiwi supporters this year on track to rival those of England’s famous Barmy Army.
With more than four months to go before the second of three Domain Tests between Australia and New Zealand, close to half of the more than 27,000 tickets already sold have been purchased by cricket fans across the ditch.
Almost 20,000 tickets for the Boxing Day Ashes Test in 2017 were purchased by supporters in England and the Kiwis could challenge that number this year, with 12,500 tickets already sold to fans in New Zealand.
Two extra flights have also been scheduled from Auckland to Melbourne over the festive period, one on the afternoon of Christmas Day and another on Boxing Day morning, to assist with the influx of Black Caps supporters.
Despite both Australia and New Zealand still being in the grips of winter, overall ticket sales for the Boxing Day Test are tracking 65 per cent higher than normal at this time of year, a figure that does not include the marquee 2017 Ashes Test and the low crowd for the 2015 match against the West Indies.
While the MCC members and ticket purchases by Melburnians closer to the match mean Australians should still dominate the crowd, the early tickets sales underline the excitement among Kiwi supporters for their long-awaited return to the most famous annual event on the cricket calendar.
New Zealand have not played in a Boxing Day Test at the MCG since 1987 when Australia’s last-wicket pair of Craig McDermott and Mike Whitney famously held on for a draw despite a superb bowling performance by legendary Kiwi quick Sir Richard Hadlee.
Current Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson wasn’t even born when that memorable match was played.
"It's hard to go past the three match Test series in Australia as a highlight," Williamson said last year when his side’s upcoming schedule was announced.
"I think all New Zealanders will have a circle around that one."
Under Williamson’s leadership, New Zealand have vaulted to No.2 in the ICC Test rankings – three spots clear of fifth-ranked Australia - and have lost just two of their past 18 Test matches, a run that has included famous series wins at home against England and away against Pakistan.
The Boxing Day clash will be the second match of the three-game series between Australia and New Zealand this summer, which will begin with a historic day-night Test in Perth and conclude with the traditional New Year’s match in Sydney.
New Zealand have won just one Test series in Australia in their history, a 2-1 victory in 1985.
Following their heartbreaking World Cup final against England last month, the Kiwis will make their Test return this week in a two-match series in Sri Lanka, with each match to be worth 60 points as part of the new World Test Championship.
Since NZ’s last appearance at the MCG on Boxing Day, England (eight times), India (seven), West Indies (five), South Africa (five), Pakistan (four) and Sri Lanka (two) have been Australia’s opponents for the annual match while the Kiwis have predominantly played matches at home over the Christmas period.
Christchurch has hosted Boxing Day matches in each of the past five years, while the Kiwis have also played a handful of Boxing Day games in South Africa since their last Test match in Melbourne.
New Zealand have also been largely absent from the MCG in recent years; since 2002, they’ve played just four one-day matches at the venue, including the 2015 World Cup final.
Tickets for the 2019 Boxing Day Test can be purchased here