A fan wearing a gas mask waited outside the SCG's locked gates and cameramen clapped in a bid to create atmosphere in Australia's first closed-door sporting event.
After Cricket Australia acted early and barred fans from the ODI series against New Zealand due to the coronavirus pandemic, Friday's match at the SCG looms as the new norm.
Both captains still exchanged hand shakes at the toss, but interviews were done via the spidercam to ensure a two-metre buffer zone.
Australia were without quarantined quick Kane Richardson with a "mild sore throat", though he was subsequently cleared of contracting the virus.
On the field, players at least tried to carry on as if it was business as usual after being told of the new measures late on Thursday night.
With reserves sitting in the Member's Pavilion watching on the Black Caps still shined the ball with sweat, as usual.
But the reality was that all was not normal.
When Aaron Finch struck the game's first six, there was no roaring cheer. Just silence, and some words of encouragement to bowler Jimmy Neesham.
And when New Zealand had their first appeal - a top-edge from Finch that should have been upheld - no review clock appeared on a big screen devoid of replays.
Crowds will be banned from the next two games in the series in Sydney and Hobart, and doubt also remains over a tour of New Zealand later this month given the government's non-essential travel warning.
Australia's women's tour of South Africa for next week has also been suspended, making it the first major cricket series affected.
"We have taken strong action today in the face of an unprecedented public health issue," CA boss Kevin Roberts said.
"We believe this is the right decision to minimise the risk of public exposure to the coronavirus.
"We understand that these changes to our schedule will impact many, but we hope our community will understand that the public health and safety issues ... must take priority."
Roberts said cancelling the ODIs would have been "excessive" but there had been "apprehension" among players at the prospect of playing in front of large crowds.
That came especially after a spectator at last week's Women's T20 World Cup final was diagnosed with coronavirus.
He also defended the call to play that final in front of 86,174 fans but said it was a "learning experience".
Meanwhile, the Indian Premier League's start has been pushed back from March 29 to April 15 in response to the global health crisis.
The eight franchises were notified of the delay on Friday and owners will meet with IPL officials in Mumbai on Saturday.
Roberts said CA had not yet made any decisions regarding players' availability for the lucrative tournament.
"We've all experienced in our work and general lives the last week a rapidly changing situation," he said.
"What that tells us is it would be premature to make decisions now based on what's happening in the coming months.
"We're being well briefed about experts and we'll keep making decisions in advance of each milestone."
Australian Associated Press