The Melbourne Cricket ground was packed, 84,000 spectators in all, and they surely saw what proved to be one of the all time great action packed days Ashes cricket.
And they came for all sorts of reasons. The Boxing Day Test is a tradition, a national sporting tradition. It is a sacred occasion for the cricket tragic. They came because it was the Ashes, and they came because the series was tight – one all.
But then disaster. The English squad regained their winning pose and the Australians were sent packing. This alone placed no question on the traditions of the game, what the commentators have been questioning is the nature of their defeat and whether it is high time for a changing of the guard.
Australian cricket is loathe to change the senior contingent of players. In the early seventies the selectors hung on and hung on and hung on and finally Ian Chappell took over. I was a spectator at that fifth Test match in Sydney.
Tony Dell, the Queensland fast bowler, whose physical stature was enormous, also came into the squad.
Ian Chappell began what became one of the great eras of Australian cricket. He became the next stalwart of the game and set a new agenda for the team.
This is what makes cricket tradition. These beacons of light as if from a lighthouse in the midst of a storm, they stand out in a cricket era and say, Here we are. For Ian Chappell it was the team spirit he instilled. This is cricket tradition.
Now we have a new captain. Is this one of those seminal moments in this same cricket tradition mould that shouts from the roof tops, 'a new era has come'.
Certainly losing so many greats of cricket over the past few years of a generation or two – Shane Warne, Glen McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Justin Langer and Matt Hayden – has at no time until now - witnessed such a furore by the cricket commentator world - for another of those fresh encounters that make cricket tradition what it is.
The jury is still deliberating its verdict!
Maybe this Sydney Ashes Test will bring a decision!