Boxing Day test an event to remember

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The rivalry between New Zealand and Australia is often a bone of contention.

The Kiwis versus the Aussies, the black and white versus the green and gold, Black Caps versus the baggy greens.

It applies through all sporting codes, but come December 26 last year it had a different essence.

The atmosphere was thick with trepidation and elation, a result of the 32-year wait Black Cap fans were forced to endure as their side was looked over for the Boxing Day test year after year.

But they were looked over no more – the day was here.

We all know the result of the cricket by now and if not, I’ll enlighten you – we were abysmal.

Australia won by 247 runs, and continued to put the foot down to take the series 3-0.

But that first day, you could sense you were part of something pretty special.

It was a historic moment for New Zealand cricket, and the tumultuous crowd added to the atmosphere.

The crowd of 80,473 was the second-largest for the first day, in a non-Ashes Boxing Day match, behind the 85,661 who attended the 1975 West Indies test.

Nearly 20,000 of those fans were New Zealanders, and it showed.

A sea of teal and black shirts littered the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with “steady the ship” caps at the ready.

Whether it was renditions of the national anthem, clapping every ball, or just cheering for the sake of it, you knew the Kiwis were in town.

As Trent Boult stepped up to the pitch for the first ball of the day, you could hardly hear yourself think.

Nobody was prepared for what could happen next.

Fourth ball into the day he produced one clean down the middle stump and pipped Australian opener Joe Burns for a golden duck.

An Australian crowd stunned to silence, only a subtle groan could be heard.

New Zealanders, on the other hand?

Up on their feet, hooping and hollering to celebrate a dream start to the day.

If I thought the ruckus then was astonishing, I was vastly under-prepared for what could occur 101 minutes later.

We had a loud Australian sitting in the stand behind us who sledged bowler Neil Wagner all day.

“Same thing all day Wagner, give us something different.”

Give you something different he did.

A ball chipped off Australian David Warner’s bat and a spectacular one-handed catch from Tim Southee sent Warner packing for 41.

My brother jumped from his seat and used a couple of choice words to describe his enthusiasm.

The noise was deafening and chants about the sandpaper scandal from everyone around ensued.

As he sauntered off, Steve Smith warmed up and made his way to the field.

Two ships passing in the night greeted by some of the loudest boos you’ve ever heard.

It’s a reaction that sinks its teeth into your skin and never leaves.

Then hours and hours and hours and hours went with very little development.

That’s the thing with test cricket, isn’t it without anything happening.

We took a couple more wickets and left the day 257 for four, but the damage was done.

The MCG and the Boxing Day test was an indescribable experience.

Watching animated New Zealanders and Australians celebrate fiercely through the medium of sport is something pretty special.

They say it won’t be another 32 years before we play in Melbourne on Boxing Day again.

Let’s wait and see.