The Sydney Cricket Ground, formerly known as the Garrison Ground, is the venue for the fifth and final Ashes Test Down Under.
Sydney is the most populated city in Australia and is the capital of the state of New South Wales. Located on the south-east coast of the country, it was established in 1788 as the first British colony Down Under, being named after then British Home Secretary Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney. It was declared Australia's first city in 1842 and became even more popular during the gold rush, which began in 1851. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was built in 1932 - during the great depression - while the Sydney Opera House came along 41 years later. The area is also famous for its many beautiful beaches, while the hot summers and famous landmarks make it an extremely popular destination for tourists. Sydney staged the summer Olympics in 2000 at the ANZ Stadium.
The Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) is situated in Moore Park and is the home of the New South Wales Cricket Association. Formerly known as the Garrison Ground, the first recorded cricket match was played there in 1854 but the venue was rebuilt in 1877. Just five years later it welcomed Test cricket, by which time it boasted two grandstands. The rebuilding continued, including the removal of a cycling track in the 1920's, with the Bradman Stand being completed in 1973. It has long been used as the venue for Australia's New Year Test and although not huge in size, can create an intense atmosphere with the spectators so close to the players. The SCG is also the home of the AFL's Sydney Swans and has staged tennis, both codes of rugby and even motor racing. In 1938 it hosted the British Empire Games.
Although a batting paradise in the 1920's and 30's (when Sir Donald Bradman made 452 not out in action for New South Wales), Sydney became known as a spin-friendly venue. Australia even once picked the versatile Colin Miller to take the new ball with his medium pacers and then also bowl off-spin in an Ashes Test, giving them three spinners in their attack. Shane Warne certainly enjoyed playing at Sydney, though since his retirement the wickets seem to have become much easier to bat on.
On a ground steeped in tradition and natural beauty, Sydney has witnessed many magic Ashes moments in years gone by. England's Reg Foster produced the debut of all debuts with 287 in 1903 and exactly 100 years later Steve Waugh sent his home crowd into raptures with a swansong century. With Australia firmly on the ropes in the last Ashes meeting in the capital, England kept their foot firmly on the throat of the opposition with a third innings victory to seal a famous 3-1 series win.